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HHSAA golf: Punahou junior Galdiano captures third individual title

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WAIKOLOA — Entering the final day of HHSAA girls golf championships in a three-way tie for first, Punahou junior Mariel Galdiano knew she would have to finish strong.

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WAIKOLOA — Entering the final day of HHSAA girls golf championships in a three-way tie for first, Punahou junior Mariel Galdiano knew she would have to finish strong.

Galdiano embraced the challenge, shooting a 4-under 68, for a two-day 140, capturing a third consecutive state championship at the Kings’ Course at Waikoloa Beach Resort on Tuesday.

“It definitely did not come easily, but I have no problem being pushed,” Galdiano said. “I was a little nervous over the two days but I knew it would just be a matter of the finish. My coaches really helped ground me and stay focused.”

She joins fellow Buffanblu alum Anna Umemura (1994, ‘95, ’97) as the tourney’s only three-time champion, and will have a chance to add a record fourth during her senior campaign.

Galdiano made major headway on the course’s four par-5s.

She finished 4-under on those holes Tuesday, including an eagle early in the day on No. 4.

The notorious Waikoloa wind stayed at bay most of the day, until the final hole for Galdiano. With the palm trees blowing sideways, Galdiano laid up and knocked in a birdie putt for an exclamation point.

“This is not a course where you can go for everything,” Galdiano said. “All season it had been pretty short and I could go for everything, so I had to be careful here and there.”

Led by Galdiano, Punahou added to its title run.

The Lady Buffanblu squad of Galdiano, Allisen Corpuz (74-70—144) and Aiko Leong (74-77—151) finished at435 — 31 strokes better than second-place Iolani.

The Punahou girls have won the team title eight times in the last nine years.

“The girls were real steady and that was the plan,” Punahou head coach Ed Kageyama said. “No one needed to be a hero, especially if the wind picked up. We played the high percentage shots and everything else took care of itself.”

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Of the 10 BIIF golfers on the course, individual champion Kaley Saludares was the top finisher with 168. Fellow Warrior freshmen Kaelyn Uchida (87-87—174) and Anne Nakamoto (90-86—176) rounded out the Big Island’s top three finishers.

The boys championships start Thursday at the Kings’ Course in Waikoloa, with 14 BIIF golfers in action.