Preps: Baldwin edges Maui by one stroke in girls golf
By Robert Collias
The Maui News
By Robert Collias
KAHULUI — The Maui High School-Baldwin rivalry may not be what it has been recently in sports like football, but when it comes to girls golf, the Bears and Sabers still go after each other, and the top ranks in the state.
Yesterday was no different when Baldwin edged Maui 118-119 in the first match of the season between the top two programs in the Maui Interscholastic League, which finished third (Sabers) and fourth (Bears) in the state last season.
Some of the names change, but the quality of play doesn't between these two.
Baldwin freshman Cassy Isagawa led the Bears with an even-par 35 on the front nine at The Dunes at Maui Lani. Maui's three-time MIL individual champion Elyse Okada, who is headed to Oregon State on a golf scholarship, shot 37 after three-putting the ninth green.
Baldwin's team score was rounded out by Dayna Bersamin's 39 and Christina Ju's 44. Jenna Takushi had a nonscoring 49.
Maui High got a 40 from Liana Otake and a 42 from Kelcie Kawano. The nonscorer was Richel Ped at 44.
Baldwin improved to 5-0 in MIL play, while Maui fell to 4-1. The same two teams meet tomorrow at Wailea Blue, the Sabers' home course.
The intensity was palpable as the two groups came to the ninth, a 467-yard par-4.
Isagawa chipped from a greenside bunker to inside a foot for birdie and that was the difference in the end. It gave her an even-par day after bogeying the 306-yard, par-4 fifth.
''I expected today to be really tough because Maui High, they are really good,'' Isagawa said to The Maui News. ''They are deep and we were trying our best to try to stay close with them.''
Isagawa said tomorrow's match will be just as tough.
''I was a little nervous, you know, the first match with Maui High this year and I do know they are really good,'' Isagawa said. ''They are good competition and they will be ready on Friday.''
Bersamin, a junior, knew how tough the Sabers would be.
''We were all really nervous,'' she said. ''We were excited, too, and we just wanted to do our best. It was pretty close all day.''
Bersamin played in the same group as Isagawa.
''She is really good and she hits it really far,'' Bersamin said of Isagawa. ''We obviously needed her today.''
Both coaches feel these two could contend with defending champion Punahou in May at the state tournament on Kauai.
''It is a real battle with Baldwin now with Cassy and Dayna,'' Maui coach Jerry Toyama said. ''Our two front players (Okada and Kawano) had to stay up with them. I knew it would come down the wire, this match.''
Okada, who is trying to become the first boy or girl to win four MIL individual golf titles, will be with her team all season, according to Toyama. Last year, she missed much of the year while doing her college search on the Mainland.
Kawano, the state runner-up last year, will play at the University of Hawai'i.
''Elyse's future looks awfully bright, but I'm glad to have her all season this year,'' Toyama said. ''Kelcie was going to go to Cal State-Northridge, but she has changed to UH. It is the first time I have ever had two Division I golfers on the same team. It is a lot of fun. Friday should be another good one.''
Baldwin coach Kenny Houpo wiped his brow and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the final scores.
''You cannot take anything away from my top two today, they played really good,'' he said. ''Kelcie struggled, but that will not happen again. Christina struggled for us, too, but I know both those girls will be back on Friday.''
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