DIVISION I: Gators’ Kaui takes third state golf title

SPARKS — Alex Kaui has been playing golf so long she can’t even remember her first swing.

But the Green Valley senior ended her high school career in style on Tuesday, winning her third consecutive individual state title.

Kaui shot 4-under-par 68 Tuesday, finishing with a two-day total of 138 to capture the Division I championship at Wildcreek Golf Course.

Kaui, who first picked up a club at age 3, finished 14 shots ahead of Spanish Springs’ Katrina Pendergrast, who shot two rounds of 76.

Green Valley head coach Greg Murphy could hardly keep himself from crying as he realized that it would be the last time he would have Kaui on his team.

“Now I’m going to get all emotional,” Murphy said as his eyes welled up. “It has been absolutely phenomenal having her on our team the past four seasons, always being able to count on her to pick the team up whenever they need it. It’s been completely amazing.”

Kaui’s leadership and strong showing at state wasn’t enough to keep Green Valley’s title streak alive.

The Gators won the Class 4A state title the last three seasons, but finished fourth this season with a team total of 722.

Spanish Springs  won the championship at 686, followed by McQueen (696) and Coronado (698).

“We have new players that have never played golf, so we couldn’t really expect as much,” Kaui said. “They just started so this is just good experience for our team, and it taught me a lot about leadership trying to keep them positive and competitive.”

Kaui was the only golfer to break par either day, and was seven strokes better than any other golfer in the tournament on Tuesday. Douglas’ Nicole Tereda, who finished third at 154, shot 75 for the day’s second-best round.

Coronado’s Natalie Yamamoto shot 76 Tuesday to claim fourth-place on a scorecard playoff with a two-day 156. Basic’s Jamie Donizio also shot 156 to finish fifth.

“It feels like high school is just kind of flying by, even though it was a lot of work all these years getting through school and playing catch-up constantly,” Kaui said. “Now it’s pretty much done, and it’s been a very amazing experience.

“I’m glad I got to meet the people I did, and I love my team.”

Division I State Tournament
At Wildcreek Golf Course, Sparks (par 72)
Team Scores
Spanish Springs    333-353–686
McQueen              347-349–696
Coronado              356-342–698
Green Valley         361-361–722
Arbor View            357-366–723
Bishop Gorman     378-397–775
Top 25 Individuals
Alex Kaui, Green Valley                 70-68–138
Katrina Prendergast, Span. Spr.    76-76–152
Nicole Terada, Douglas                  79-75–154
Natalie Yamamoto, Coronado        80-76–156
Jamie Donizio, Basic                      75-81–156
Olivia Greenwald, Coronado          81-76–157
Michelle Duan, McQueen               80-84–164
Kiley Ballew, Arbor View                 81-85–166
Mercedes Khumnark, Green Val.    79-87–166
Sarah Thomas, Green Valley          84-84–168
Trae Jones, Spanish Springs          79-90–169
Aspen Bryant, Cimarron                  84-86–170
Alice Duan, McQueen                     83-87–170
Allison Gaskill, McQueen                95-79–174
Courtney Hagen, Basic                   86-89–175
Amy Ruelas, Foothill                       92-83–175
Staci Ludwig, Wooster                    82-94–176
Shaylee Hollan, Arbor View            91-89–180
Carly Farthing, Manogue                88-92–180
Melissa Cayne, Gorman                 86-94–180
Ashley Money, Arbor View              85-95–180
Katie DeJesus, Gorman                 85-96–181
Arianna Bryant, Cimarron               82-99–181
Samantha Sorensen, Span. Spr.    90-93–183
Kirsten Ortez, Galena                     88-96–184