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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 11, 2003

Murashige leads Hilo to girls championship

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

WAIKOLOA, Hawai'i — Following in the tiny footsteps of junior Kira-Ann Murashige, Hilo High won the David S. Ishii Foundation State High School Girls Golf Championship yesterday.

The Vikings took an 11-shot advantage into the final round at Waikoloa Beach. They spent yesterday pounding their opponents into submission. Murashige beat everybody, and teammates Whitney Ueno and Kristen Higa finished in the top nine.

"I've believed in these girls all year," said Hilo coach Jan Watanabe, whose team shaved a large "V" out of his hair after Friday's brilliant start. "It's a very special group.... I never had a doubt about their talent from Day 1."

Watanabe's biggest fear going into the final round was the front nine. But instead of coming out cautious, his young team padded its cushion early and never let up.

Murashige followed the same game plan. She made the turn in even-par to overtake first-round leader Lehua Wise, a Kaua'i High senior, and slammed the door shut with two birdies in the final six holes.

Hilo closed with a team score of 223—444 to win by 23 shots over Kaua'i High (232—467), which overtook defending champion Waiakea.

"The motivation for most of the team," Raiders coach Kelli Pleas said, "was let's help Lehua out, support her and turn in good scores."

The Warriors (236) and Punahou (228) tied for third at 468. The top three scores of four players counted toward the total.

Murashige warmed up for her Jennie K. Invitational title defense next weekend with an imposing final round shot in the blazing heat of the Big Island and high school golf's biggest stage. She closed with a 1-under-par 69 — the tournament's only sub-par round — to finish at even-par 140.

That was five better than Wise (75) and eight ahead of King Kehaulike's Lisa Kajihara (71). Wise's first-round advantage evaporated with a triple bogey at the sixth hole.

"I really made only one bad swing today," Wise said. "It cost me. And then Kira was putting really good. I knew I couldn't depend on her to make bad shots."

She was right. Murashige, only a little bigger than her golf bag, blew her drives by everybody yesterday and finished them off with just 31 putts — four for birdies — on Waikoloa's big greens.

She's hitting the ball farther —averaging 240 yards off the tee — than when she won the Jennie K. a year ago to officially introduce herself as yet another great young Hawai'i golf gun.

Murashige never faltered in the final round by successfully blocking the opposition out of her mind.

"She started the season slow," Watanabe acknowledged. "It was just mental preparation. When she started concentrating on the course and her game — nobody else's game — she started playing the way she should have all along."

Hilo loses two seniors. Kaua'i High will only lose Wise, who is heading to New Mexico State. The Red Raiders will have four seniors and five juniors next year, and are expecting a big assist from incoming freshman Miki Ueoka.

"Our girls just decided the season hasn't ended," Pleas said. "They're going to work through the summer and win the title next year. It went Hilo, Kaua'i, Waiakea. Next time it will go Kaua'i, Waiakea, Hilo. We got it figured."


Yesterday's Final Results

At Waikoloa Beach Course (Par 70)


1, Hilo 221-223—444

2, Kaua'i 235-232—467

3, Waiakea 232-236—468

3, Punahou 240-228—468

5, Kamehameha 245-233—478

6, Baldwin 240-251—491

7, Moanalua 253-251—504

8, Roosevelt 255-257—512

9, 'Aiea 264-251—515


Kira-Ann Murashige, Hilo 71-69—140

Lehua Wise, Kaua'i 70-75—145

Lisa Kajihara, King Kekaulike 77-71—148

Mari Chun, Kamehameha 75-75—150

Whitney Ueno, Hilo 74-76—150

Amanda Wilson, Waiakea 75-75—150

Lindsay Hong, Punahou 76-74—150

Randi Ono, Pearl City 77-75—152

Kristen Higa, Hilo 76-78—154

Jenna Seki, Punahou 80-76—156

Julia Au, Kealakehe 82-75—157

Dale Gamme, St. Anthony 79-78—157

Christine Kim, Waiakea 80-77—157

Jenny Pleas, Kaua'i 80-77—157

Kelly Nakashima, Baldwin 77-81—158

Sarah Sheffield, Kea'au 80-78—158

Wendee Augustiro, Kamehameha 82-77—159

Kayla Morinaga, Sacred Hearts 79-80—159

Kodie Nakamura, Hilo 79-80—159

Rak-Kyung Oh, St. Andrew's 81-78—159

Megan Sakamoto, 'Aiea 79-82—161

Jayna Shimamura, Baldwin 79-82—161

Tiffany Takao, McKinley 84-78—162

Kimberly Tom, Punahou 84-78—162

Kimberly Yama, Kaua'i 82-80—162

Melanie Lee, Pearl City 89-74—163

Iris Ocariza, Moanalua 82-81—163

Xyra Suyetsugu, Roosevelt 80-83—163

Ayumi Hori, Moanalua 84-80—164

Jasmine Ching, Waiakea 83-82—165

Kellie Kawahara, Waiakea 77-88—165

Stacie Nishimoto, Iolani 84-81—165

Kristen Atebara, Hilo 86-80—166

Erica Chong, Hilo 82-84—166

Jenna Fujimoto, Waiakea 82-84—166

Emily Lau, Iolani 80-86—166

Mary Akutagawa, Kaua'i 85-82—167

Miya Argent, Sacred Hearts 91-77—168

Terra Bell, Kaua'i 88-81—169

Kanoelani Sakihama, Kamehameha 88-81—169

Tiffany Ishihara-Paraso, Roosevelt 86-84—170

Brittany Austin, Campbell 85-86—171

Katrina Chong, Hilo 89-82—171

Heather Golden, Radford 85-86—171

Nicole Aoki, Waiakea 86-87—173

Kiilani Matsuyoshi, Kaua'i 89-84—173

Mari Miyamoto, Baldwin 84-89—173

Kelli Nakano, Baldwin 85-88—173

Sara Yamamoto, Hawai'i Prep 90-83—173

Erin Matsuoka, Punahou 90-84—174

Kristine Higa, 'Aiea 91-86—177

Jaclyn Hilea, Moanalua 87-90—177

Shari Horio, 'Aiea 94-83—177

Breena Kadekaru, Moanalua 87-91—178

Nancy Shon, Roosevelt 89-90—179

Shelby Hoota, Hawai'i Prep 87-93—180

Jenna Felechner, Lahainaluna 91-90—181

Cassie Kim, Mililani 96-96—192

Michelle Horikawa, Baldwin 98-97—195

Melani Enten, Radford 97-99—196

Tracy Tamashiro, Roosevelt 104-99—203

Amanda Richardson, Kapolei 101-106—207

Correction: Lindsay Hong of Punahou shot 76-74—150 to tie for fourth in yesterday's girls state high school golf championships. Another score was credited to her in a previous version of this story.