Baldwin completes perfect run to title
KAANAPALI – The Baldwin High School boys golf team completed its second consecutive undefeated regular season on Friday, and leading the way was Justin Ngan, a freshman who said he feels nervous out on the links.
Looks more like he has nerves of steel.
Ngan shot a 35 at the Kaanapali Kai Course, leading the Bears to a 144-148 victory over Lahainaluna that finished a 14-0 run through the Maui Interscholastic League.
“Still kind of nervous about it, but I feel pretty good,” Ngan said. “I try not to show it, but at the same time I feel nervous.”
Ariel Elftman-Hanson and Tyler Munetake each had rounds of 36 for the Bears, and Justin Arcano carded a 37.
“We have the consistency and we’ve been playing well all season,” Elftman-Hanson said. “We had a few hard days here and there, but overall we’ve been really consistent.”
By winning the league title, Baldwin qualifies five golfers for the state championships, scheduled for April 30 and May 1 at the Turtle Bay Palmer Course on Oahu.
Ngan birdied the seventh hole and bogeyed the ninth.
“Nothing bothers him,” said Bears coach Buff Burton. “When he comes to the golf course he comes to play. It’s time to play golf. He doesn’t show any emotions. That’s great on the golf course, that’s what you need on the golf course.”
Elftman-Hanson had three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.
“It was a lot of scrambling today, but I hung in there and did all right,” he said.
Things played out the same way as last season when Baldwin and Lahainaluna were undefeated entering their two-match season-ending series.
“Two years in a row, one year at a time, correct?” said Burton, who gave credit to assistants Brian Kamimoto and Paul Bagay. “Last year was last year, this year was this year.”
Lucas Bell shot a 35 for the Lunas (12-2), who needed to win Friday to force a playoff.
“Lucas, I knew he had it in him the whole season, it was just getting it out of him,” said Lahainaluna coach Sutee Nitakorn. “He has the swing and the game to go with it.”
Kerek Franz had a 36, Kaimi Kanaha recorded a 38 and Rhett Wiseman carded a 39.
“I’m very proud of our guys,” Nitakorn said. “To give it their best effort and to come in with our lowest score of the season it says something.”
The five-round MIL individual championships starts today at Waiehu Municipal Golf Course. The tournament will help determine the league’s nine at-large spots for the state championships.
* Kyle Sakamoto is at firstname.lastname@example.org