HSJGA golf: Kiersten Saludares leads Big Island contingent
Kiersten Saludares is headed back to California.
The 10-year-old from Hilo finished second in her age division at the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association’s Callaway Junior World Qualifier at Waikoloa Kings’ Course on Sunday. She is one of four Big Islanders — each from Hilo — to earn a spot in the prestigious event, which will be held in San Diego, California, from July 14-18.
It marks the third time that Kiersten has qualified for the tournament, which includes 1,200 participants from 56 countries.
“The first time I played (in the junior world event) I had a little pressure,” she said. “The second time, I felt good.”
She didn’t seem to be feeling any pressure on Sunday either. She shot a 77 — with birdies on Nos. 14 and 18 — after carding a 79 on Saturday. Her two-day total of 156 put her seven strokes behind champion Minny Byun of Honolulu.
“I think I played pretty good,” Kiersten said. “I wasn’t really thinking about my score, so I thought I was doing horrible, but it turned out good.”
She credited a strong round of chipping, as well as some solid putting, for helping her earn a return trip to San Diego.
Kailey Oki of Hilo was fourth in the 9-10 division, which qualifies her for the world tournament, after going 81-87-168. Along the way, she birdied No. 4 for the second straight day.
Hilo is home to two of the five qualifiers from the boys 9-10 age group. Dysen Park shot a 78 on Sunday, including a 1-over 37 on the back nine, to finish at 159. Jason Kurizaki also qualified after shooting a 209 for the tournament, including a 99 on Sunday.
Go Nakatsukasa won the age group by shooting an impressive 6 under for the tournament. That was the best score in any age group.
Kyle Suppa of Honolulu won the boys 15-17 division by shooting 4 under for the tournament.
Hilo’s Trevor Hirata tied for eighth place in the division, which included 30 players, but it wasn’t enough to qualify. His even-par round was good for second place in his division on the day, but he was undone by Saturday’s 77.
“I’m all right with today,” Hirata said. “My short game was helping me today.”
He birdied two of his first three holes on Sunday and was 1-under for the round until a bogey on No. 17.
“It was all right,” he said of his round, “but I left a lot of shots out there.”
Rose Huang of Honolulu shot 70 on Sunday to finish at 2 under and claim the girls 15-17 title while Malia Nam of Kailua, Oahu, won the 13-14 championship with a two-day total of 149. Jennifer Koga (11-12) and Mira Kubo (7-8), both of Honolulu, won the other girls divisions.
Honolulu swept the boys divisions, with Evan Kawai (13-14), Taylor John McGerity (11-12) and Yoyo Moxiao Xia (7-8) winning championships.
BIG ISLAND GOLFERS
*4. Dysen Park 81-78—159
*5. Jason Kurizaki 110-99—209
*2. Kiersten Saludares 75-74—149 *4. Kailey Oki 81-87—168 T5. Michiko Ejima 92-103—195 Boys 11-12
7. Isaiah Kanno 76-78—154 9. Ethan Hironaga 79-80—159 11. Riley Kaneshiro 84-83—167 12. Riku Omata 91-77—168 13. Aidan Jomei Oki 86-83—169 14. Dillon Ah Chong 85-87—172 Girls 11-12
6. Lacey Uchida 85-81—166
7. Tia Kualii 88-87—175
8. Mari Ebersole 92-97—189
11. Pono Yanagi 85-86—171
14. Luke Brilhante 100-110—210
6. Kaley Ann Saludares 90-82—172
WD-Kaelyn Uchida 94
T8. Trevor Hirata 77-72—149
T13. Shon Katahira 77-77—154
T19. Kalai Pomroy 82-88—160
28. Preston-Lee Ching 81-86—167