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Girls golf: Galdiano, Punahou each make large statements

May 2, 2013 - Robert Collias
On as busy a day as it will ever be for prep sports on Maui, we had blanket coverage on what happened Wednesday around the Valley Isle in this morning's paper. Pick it up if you are a high school sports fan, there's something in there for everybody.

One fact of deadline newspaper business: We can only print what fits. One small casualty of that fact was the length of my story from the David S. Ishii Foundation state girls golf tournament at the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course on Wednesday. I made the trip out to Kaanapali, so for those interested, here is the full monty:

KAANAPALI — No one in the 48-year history of the Hawaii high school state golf tournament has won four individual titles.

After her stroll to the crown over the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course on Wednesday in the David S. Ishii Foundation state tournament, Punahou School freshman Mariel Galdiano admitted four is now on her mind.

Galdiano added a 2-under-par 69 to her opening-round 68 to win the event by seven strokes over Waiakea senior Ciera Min. Galdiano’s rounds were the only red scores on the leaderboard for the 66-player field over 36 holes.

“Pretty good,” Galdiano said when asked how it feels to win the state crown as a freshman. “I always just take one shot at a time and play what the course gives me.”

Is it too soon to think about a quartet of state titles?

“No, it could happen,” Galdiano said. “Probably.”

Birdies on holes six, 12 and 13, were impeded only by a meaningless bogey on 18 when her second shot hit the putting green behind the hole.

The Buffanblu also rolled to the team title, winning by a record 37 shots over Waiakea. Punahou’s even-par 213 team total Wednesday was nine strokes better than its total on Tuesday — the next-best team round of the tournament — and it was Wednesday’s best team round by 20 strokes.

“It was a lot of fun, since there’s three other freshmen, so I have people from my class and I don’t feel alone,” Galdiano said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

The Buffanblu also counted Allisen Corpuz’s 71 and defending state champion Kacie Komoto’s 73 on Wednesday. They had four other individual qualifiers out of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in the field and did not have to count Komoto’s 79 on Wednesday.

Komoto will play at Northwestern University next season on a golf scholarship.

“With practices that we have been having and playing with all my teammates, I have been improving a lot more,” Galdiano said of her first season of high school golf.

That is bad news for the rest of the field. Galdiano is headed to Los Angeles this weekend for an American Junior Golf Association event and will play a full summer schedule.

“Obviously it’s not up to where I wanted it to be,” Min said after her second straight 72. “Mariel played great.”

Min said there was simply no catching the 5-foot-4 14-year-old who qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open two years ago.

“Every part of her game is awesome and she hits it super far out there,” said Min, a two-time Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion who was third in state last year and will play at Gonzaga in the fall. “I was so far behind today. She hits it close, she putts it in — her game is really solid.”

The top Maui Interscholastic League finisher was Baldwin’s Marissa Uradomo, who played in the final group with Min and Galdiano and finished 10th after an 82. Uradomo, the 2012 MIL champion, is headed to Indiana State next year. Baldwin’s Kimberlie Miyamoto finished in a tie for 18th.

Baldwin moved from fifth to fourth in the team standings, while Maui High finished sixth.

Maui High's Kristeena Locke, the MIL champion, finished 35th at 82—170 and said the state tournament was a learning experience.

“Overall, like, playing with other players it makes you realize how much harder I have to work to be just as good as everybody else,” Locke said.

Locke said no girl under 18 in the state is at Galdiano’s level right now.

“She is super good,” Locke said.

Baldwin has won 51 straight MIL team matches, but Locke sees the Sabers perhaps challenging the league champions next year.

The Bears lose two of their four team players, while the Sabers return all of their’s, including freshmen Locke, Jasmine Cabajar and Anna Apana. Taylor Akamine, a junior, was the fourth Saber who made it to the state tournament through the MIL individual tournament.

“I think we can,” Locke said of challenging for the MIL crown. “Next year we are going to be much stronger and practicing way harder. We gained some confidence because getting here as a team wasn’t easy, but we still managed to pull it off.”

On a state level, no team is in Punahou’s stratosphere. The Buffanblu say goodbye to three seniors, but they had six players in the top eight this week and their seventh player was 12th.

They won for the sixth time in seven years, after finishing second to Iolani last season.

“All the girls work really hard, they play all year round and they play a lot of competitive golf,” Punahou coach Ed Kageyama said. “They are competitive with each other. They get better in practice — no one wants to let anyone else down and they are all good players dedicated to the game.

“They all want to do well for themselves and for each other — that is really their motivation. We can go down to our fifth scorer and she will be pretty good. I think that’s unique. We could even go to the seventh scorer and still be competitive.”


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