Friday, May 7, 1999
Hilo wins first
girls golf title
The Vikings beat PunahouBy Bill Kwon
by three strokes to win the first
state team championship for girls
KOHALA COAST -- Baldwin's Shayna Miyajima won the individual title, but most of the cheers went to Hilo High, which had the honor of being the first state championship team in girls' golf.
"This is pretty historic," said David Ishii, Hawaii's top professional golfer, who sponsors the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state tournament.
When Ishii won this very tournament as a senior in 1973, there were no girls in the event held at his home course at Wailua, Kauai.
Ron Castillo Jr., director of golf at the Hapuna Golf Course, where this year's event was held, played in four state tournaments when he was at Kaiser.
"There was only one girl and she was on our team," Castillo said. He was talking about his sister, Lori, who went on to win two women's national public links championships.
There were 53 girls in this year's tournament and only seven of the 20 schools represented had enough qualified players to make up three-player teams to contend for the title.
But Ishii, Castillo and Keith Amemiya, the HHSAA executive director, all feel that this is just the start of bigger and better things to come for the girls.
"The popularity of golf has sky-rocketed in the last 10 years," Castillo said."Years from now, girls are going to wonder what was all the fuss."
But for now, it's a big deal.
"It is significant because it's the first one," said Wayne Kaneshiro, the Vikings' coach. "We kind of struggled in, but our girls did what had to be done."
Hilo edged Punahou by three strokes, 488 to 491, in the two-day competition at the hilly Hapuna course, which proved tough walking for the girls. As a concession, the players were shuttled from green to tee at four holes, including 17 and 18.
"It's the toughest course I've had to walk," said Miyajima, who shot a steady 3-over 75 for a 36-hole score of 152 to beat Kaiser's Jaime Yoshimura by one stroke.
First-round leader Dawn Miyashiro of Hilo struggled to an 83 to finish tied for fifth with Aiea sophomore Merynn Ito. The two played in the leading foursome with Miyajima and Yoshimura.
Miyashiro ended her competitive career -- "at least for now," she says -- by joining Lauren Tachibana, Chaney Mitsutani, Kelsey Atebara and Keri Haraga as members of the inaugural state girls' championship team.
Winner of three straight Big Island Interscholastic Federation titles as a ninth, 10th and 11th grader, the Hilo senior turned down three scholarships, including one from the University of Washington, and plans to enroll at Nevada-Reno as just a student with a business major in mind.
"I've been playing golf since I was 6. I've had enough. I'm burned out," Miyashiro said. "But this is a nice way to go out."
On the other hand, Miyajima and Yoshimura, both juniors, and Ito, a sophomore playing in her second state tournament, are already looking forward to resuming their rivalry next year on Kauai.
Miyajima, a two-time Maui Interscholastic League champion, wouldn't mind contending for the team title, too, She was Baldwin's only representative yesterday.
Meanwhile, defending champion Jim Seki Jr. of Punahou was in a four-way tie for the lead in the boys' tournament at Waikoloa's Kings Course after yesterday's opening round.
Joining Seki at 1-under-par 71 were Waiakea's Ryan Masuda, Jaime Matsumura of Kauai High and Hawaii Baptist Academy's Kellen-Floyd Asao.
Landon Chang of Waiakea was a stroke back at 72, coming in with a 4-under-par 32 after playing the back nine first in 40. Kamehameha's Justin Kim is in contention at 73 going into today's final round.
Waiakea, the defending boys' team champion, holds a nine-stroke lead over Kamehameha in team play, 293 to 302.