Rainbow Wahine one stroke short of victory at WAC golf championship
After a final round filled with brutal wind, unplayable lies and big numbers, Hawai'i came up a shot short today at the Western Athletic Conference Women's Golf Championship.
The Rainbow Wahine, led by WAC Freshman of the Year Ka'ili Britos, finished one stroke behind San Jose State at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. Hawai'i shot a final-round 311 for a three-day total of 919. SJSU shot 312-918. Britos was second individually, closing with a 2-over-par 73 to finish at 223 — two back of medalist Hali Coppin of Fresno State.
It is Hawai'i's best conference finish ever, and one of its disappointing. In extremely tough and windy conditions — something the Rainbows are used to at home — they barely missed their first WAC title and qualifying for the NCAA Championship.
"I'm happy and sad," said UH coach Lori Castillo, who wore three layers of clothing to protect her from the cold. "I know the girls are really disappointed because it was really, really close and conditions were really, really difficult. They felt they threw away a lot of shots, but everybody did. We had three- and four-club winds.
"Even San Jose's players had a couple lost balls coming in, and three-putt bogeys. It was kinda crazy. … If San Jose had lost by one they would feel the same way."
Britos was unflappable, even after she took double-bogey on the second hole when she hit into the cactus. She had three birdies and three bogeys the rest of the way, closing birdie-par with a near-miss on the final hole. Her 73 was the best score of the day.
The Kamehameha graduate was named WAC Freshman of the Year today. Corie Hou, Hawai'i's only senior, is second-team all-WAC for the second straight year. Hou shot 78 and finished eighth at 229.
Sophomore Erika Lundberg (83-232), the first-round leader, was 11th. Freshman Brigitte Baker (81-239) was 22nd and junior Brittany Bomar (79-241) 27th.
"The girls are young except for Corie so they are learning," Castillo said. "This is the lesson I tell them all the time — every shot counts. As far as effort, none of our girls ever gave up, where I saw other players not fighting as hard. That was really nice to see."
San Jose State is 38th in the latest Golfstat ratings, based on scoring average. Hawai'i is 145th.