Kono ready to move on after loss
After elimination in the quarterfinals, the Hawaii teen has much golf left
CHARLOTTE, N.C. » Although she had been eliminated early in the day, Honolulu's Stephanie Kono was still upbeat last night about her stay at the U.S. Girls Junior Championship.
"It was a good experience and I played pretty well," Kono said.
Kono's longest run at the Girls Junior ended yesterday with a 4-and-3 quarterfinal loss to Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., at Carmel Country Club.
Kono carded three birdies and led 1 up after three holes. But three bogeys combined with Harigae's steady play were too much for the 16-year-old Punahou student to overcome.
Harigae was 6 under when she closed out the match and didn't record a bogey in the quarterfinals.
"She didn't make any mistakes and we both made about the same amount of birdies, but I made a couple of mistakes and I made some bogeys and that just cost me the match," Kono said.
But Harigae wouldn't last much longer, losing 2 and 1 to Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., in the afternoon semifinal round.
Hurst advances to face 13-year-old Jenny Shin of Torrance, Calif., in the 36-hole final today. Shin defeated Alexandra Bodemann from Palm City, Fla., in the other semifinal.
Prior to this week, Kono hadn't advanced past the second round in the U.S. Girls Junior, winning first-round matches in 2003 and last year before being eliminated.
After a shaky start in stroke play to begin the tournament, Kono came back with a 2-under-par 70 on Tuesday to qualify for match play, and won three matches before meeting up with Harigae, a friend since they were 9.
She credited her play on the greens for sustaining her run in the event.
"In (Thursday's) match and the day before I made all the putts that I needed to make, and even today on some of the holes when I needed to make par or when I had a testy 10-footer I would always make it. So I was happy about that," Kono said.
Kono, who hadn't faced Harigae in match play before yesterday's meeting, birdied the par-3 second hole to take the lead, but fell behind with bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes. Harigae didn't allow Kono opportunities to rally, matching Kono birdies on No. 6 and 8 and pulling away with two more birdies on No. 9 and 11.
Kono will next play in the American Junior Golf Association's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship in Malvern, Penn., starting Monday. She's also entered in the AGJA's Canon Cup in Lake Forest, Ill., set for July 31-Aug. 3. The tournament features the country's top 10 boys and girls junior golfers from the east and west meeting in a Ryder Cup-style tournament. She said Moanalua's Tadd Fujikawa will also play for the West squad.
Kono ends her travel-intensive summer schedule at the U.S. Women's Amateur, Aug. 7-13 in North Plains, Ore.
"A lot of the girls I've become really good friends with, and we all go the same tournaments, so it's fun," Kono said.