UH women place second in WAC
After a final round of brutal wind, unplayable lies and big numbers, Hawai'i came up a shot short yesterday at the Western Athletic Conference Women's Golf Championship.
The Rainbow Wahine, led by WAC Freshman of the Year Ka'ili Britos, placed second to 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, and one of its most 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. "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 double-bogeyed the second hole when she hit into 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 yesterday. Corie Hou, Hawai'i's only senior, earned second-team all-WAC honors for the second straight year. She 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.
Meanwhile, at the Pac-10 Championship in Oregon yesterday, Punahou graduate Stephanie Kono struggled to a 77 on the final day and finished eighth at 220. Her second-ranked UCLA team was second to top-ranked Arizona. Oregon State sophomore Elyse Okada (82—251), a Maui High graduate, was 45th.
Also, at the West Coast Conference Championship Tuesday in California, University of San Diego sophomore Alex Ching finished eighth The Punahou graduate helped the 27th-ranked Toreros to a second-place finish, after shooting 73—223.