Miyamoto wins second straight Invitational title

WAILUKU – It’s easy to see why Kimberlie Miyamoto’s favorite golf courses are Kahili and King Kamehameha.

Miyamoto, who begins her senior year at Baldwin High School today, cruised to a nine-stroke victory in the Maui Women’s Invitational at the adjacent courses, claiming the title for a second straight year.

Miyamoto shot a 2-over-par 74 in Sunday’s final round at King Kamehameha for an even-par total of 144.

“I really like the greens,” she said of both courses. “They are nice and smooth. It just fits to how I putt.”

Kristeena Locke, a sophomore at Maui High, finished second after a 78 on Sunday. Mia Hew (79) was third at 158.

Kahili is Baldwin’s home course. Miyamoto was playing at King Kamehameha for a fourth time. She birdied the fourth hole and bogeyed Nos. 6, 9 and 12.

“Today and yesterday I just tried to stay consistent,” said Miyamoto, who shot 37 on each half Sunday. “Some shots I felt like I should go for it, but I decided not to because of the wind and also I didn’t want to get in trouble. I just wanted to play it safe through two rounds.”

Miyamoto, who entered Sunday with a five-stroke advantage, was in the same group as Locke, Lisa Judge and Maui High senior Taylor Akamine. The three high schoolers were the only junior golfers in the field. Judge will be on Oahu next week to play in a Senior Women’s Amateur qualifier.

Locke, who like Akamine was playing King Kamehameha for the first time, birdied Nos. 12 and 16 on Sunday.

“The birdies really helped me because I was in a slump getting bogeys and a double (at No. 13). That really, really helped me,” Locke said.

Locke played with a knee brace over the weekend because of a torn ligament. She said she was hurt nearly 11 months ago when she took a spill on a course, and will have surgery next month.

Akamine finished 19th – the highlight was a birdie on the final hole.

“I was having a rough time in the beginning so it was nice to finish up with a birdie,” she said.

Judge, who originally is from Detroit, was constantly offering positive words to the younger golfers on Sunday.

“I have an 11-year-old son who plays golf so I’m comfortable playing with the kids and encouraging them,” said Judge, who finished fourth at 162. “I can’t help them out, but I can encourage them as they play.”

Judge had one birdie Sunday in her round of 82.

“It was No. 11, a par-5. It is my nemesis hole,” she said. “I was just trying to get on in regulation and sink the putt.”

Locke won the A flight championship. The other flight winners were Jadine Tom (B), Sunny Floyd (C) and Myriam Takamatsu (D).

* Kyle Sakamoto is at ksakamoto@mauinews.com