Galdiano leads by four shots at Royal Kaanapali
KAANAPALI – Despite being a 14-year-old freshman, Punahou School’s Mariel Galdiano has been in more pressure-packed spots than this.
Galdiano fired a 3-under-par 68 on Tuesday for a four-shot lead in the David S. Ishii Foundation state girls golf tournament at the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course. Waiakea’s Ciera Min is second at 72, while Baldwin’s Marissa Uradomo is third at 75.
Two years ago, Galdiano qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open with a 78-74 at Poipu Bay Golf Course on Kauai to claim the single qualifying spot by a stroke.
“There is way less pressure,” Galdiano said Tuesday. “After the U.S. Open, I was never nervous for a tournament, ever.”
Galdiano also helped the Buffanblu, who had a sting of five straight state team titles snapped by Iolani last season, lead the team scores by 17 strokes over Waiakea and Iolani. Maui Interscholastic League champion Baldwin is fifth, 24 strokes back.
Galdiano birdied Nos. 4, 11 and 16, and sank an 8-foot putt for eagle on No. 6, a 460-yard par-5. Her only bogeys came at 15 and 18.
The hot-and-sticky conditions, with slight Kona winds, didn’t bother Galdiano.
“Really, I like these kinds of winds, but they were kind of shifting around and I got kind of confused on some holes,” she said. “It’s not too bad, I like it. I could have shot maybe one shot better, so, yeah, I’m pretty pleased.”
For today’s final round, Galdiano will take another low-key approach.
“I will try not to think about it, just try to stay focused,” she said.
Playing with the loaded Buffanblu team – defending state champion Kacie Komoto shot 79 and was not counted in Punahou’s three-player total of 222 – has helped push Galdiano. Komoto is the only senior on the Punahou roster.
“My teammates are great competitors,” she said. “During practice days it’s really great because they are really good players as well. I try to just keep up with them. We do make ourselves better in practice.”
Min, the Big Island champion who was third in the state tournament last season, double bogeyed the 440-yard par-4 18th with a three-putt from 10 feet.
“It’s kind of frustrating, but the conditions were great, but it was tough because there are no par-5s on the back nine,” Min said. “Let’s just say: ‘I’ll take it.’ “
Min, a senior headed to Gonzaga to play golf, had three birdies and a bogey on the front nine, while her only misstep on the back came on the final hole. A state title will be on her mind today.
“It would mean so much,” she said. “Last year was the closest I came. I’m a senior this year, so it would be really nice.”
Uradomo was 11th last season after winning the MIL title. She will play at Indiana State in the fall.
Uradomo shot 73 in the final round of the MIL individual tournament on the same course last week to wrap up second place.
“Today, everything was completely different from MILs,” she said. “Honestly, I’m pleased with what I shot. The wind was different, the hole locations not so much different, it was pretty close. The greens are a lot nicer, that’s another thing.”
Uradomo would like to finish her high school career on a strong note, but knows Galdiano will be hard to catch.
“She’s really good,” Uradomo said. “She has been good all her life.”
Uradomo is looking forward to college golf.
“There is an end to everything, so I am kind of looking forward to it, a new chapter in my life,” she said. “This book is closing and a new one is opening.”
MIL champion Kristeena Locke, a Maui High freshman, shot an 88. She said her first state tournament round was a learning experience.
“I got to play with new people and learn what competition is like, more competition,” Locke said. “Having more competition just means a lot of good players. I was nervous today. I guess playing today and not doing the best, it made me learn that you’re not perfect and you can’t always shoot what you want.”
*Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org