The Maui News 2013 MIL Golf All-Stars
Entering the Maui Interscholastic League Golf Championships, neither Malu Rosenthal nor Kristeena Locke was a favorite to win.
Rosenthal, a senior at Lahainaluna High School, had never placed higher than fifth in his career and Locke, a freshman at Maui High, had to compete against defending champion and Junior PGA champion Marissa Uradomo of Baldwin.
Rosenthal and Locke, however, would claim their first league titles and were honored as MIL boys and girls players of the year.
“It feels great,” Rosenthal said. “Coming into the season, I wasn’t really shooting for that. I was just shooting for the MIL title and to let everything fall into place – and it just did.”
After the third round of the championships, Rosenthal was eight strokes behind Baldwin sophomore Tyler Munetake. By the final round, though, he had rallied back and was neck-and-neck with Munetake, thanks to six birdies.
“I just told myself to play my game and don’t worry about anything else,” he said. “It’s like a marathon; I just knew if I put five solid rounds together I would have a good chance at it.”
His chance came on the 18th hole, when he sunk a 40-foot chip to clinch the title by one stroke.
“I knew we were tied in the back nine, but a couple holes later we weren’t,” he said of him and Munetake. “After I chipped in (to win) it seemed like everyone knew except for me.
“I’m very satisfied with my senior year,”
While Rosenthal, who will head to Portland, Ore. to play for Warner Pacific College, was able to finish his high school career with a bang, Locke got her Sabers’ career off to a great start.
In the final round of the girls championship, the freshman held a double-digit lead over Uradomo, a senior. Despite a handful of bogeys, Locke was able to win by six strokes.
“It feels really good,” she said. “Because it’s only my first year, getting that was a real accomplishment.”
Locke said she was confident about competing at the high school level due to her experience with Maui Junior Golf Association and Hawaii State Junior Golf Association.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to do, since it was my first year, but I wasn’t really nervous,” she said. “In junior golf you’re playing against really good competitors so I was expecting that level of competition.”
Another member of the two golf associations is Maui High freshman teammate Jasmine Cabajar, who Locke credited for some of her success.
“I’ve been playing with her for a while,” Locke said. “We played against each other, but we also play as a team and push each other to do better and to forget about the bad shots.”
After finishing outside the top 15 at this year’s state golf tournament, Locke hopes to improve her standing and also repeat as MIL champion.
“Over the summer I’m going to be practicing a lot,” she said.
Rosenthal is joined on the MIL first team by Baldwin’s Munetake, Ariel Eltfman-Hanson and Jameson Keiley, and King Kekaulike’s Drake Onaga.
Locke is joined on the MIL girls first team by Cabajar, and Baldwin’s Uradomo and Kirsten Ishikawa.
* Chris Sugidono is at firstname.lastname@example.org