Last season, Chanelle Hwang had a fine freshman golf season for Hilo with a fifth place finish at the BIIF championships.
However, she wasn’t able to win any BIIF meets. That changed a year later.
On Wednesday at Kohanaiki, the Viking sophomore shot a 7-over 79 to claim medalist honors with a three-stroke win over Waiakea senior Tia Kualii.
Hwang shot a 38 on the front nine and a 41 on the back. She finished with two birdies and a lot of thought for self-reflection.
“I’m happy that I contained my mistakes,” she said. “On the back nine, I kind of crashed, mostly because of my putting.”
She birdied the first hole and No. 9 but kicked herself for missed birdies on Nos. 14 and 17.
Her driver and irons were working, and she enjoyed the 7,329-yard Rees Jones-designed course.
“My long game was going where I wanted it to go,” she said. “I hit a lot of fairways and a good amount of greens. I was able to get up and down but just on the front nine.
“The conditions were really nice, and I liked the course.”
Last years, Hwang was named the Big Island Junior Golf Association’ player of the year, a list that lists Waiakea’s Elle Otani, Kailey Oki, Jillian Mitsuda, and Lacey Uchida.
Hwang’s swing coach is Troy Tamiya, and she kept his message in her mind.
“The biggest thing when I swing is to keep my head still, and that’s all I thought about today,” she said. “I just like playing, and I enjoy everyone I’ve met and playing with my group.”
Kohanaiki was the last tune-up. Now, it’s practice time for the BIIF championships, April 28 at Hualalai and April 30 at Mauna Kea.
She already has a game plan. Hwang is focusing on sharpening her short game, a key in tournament play, and eliminating mental mistakes.
“I want to go out and put myself in position, especially on the first day. I want to do my best with my short game (chipping and putting) and not have any blowup holes.”
That’s the competitor in her talking. She was comfortably at home savoring her first BIIF medalist honor and thinking about what’s to come next.
Honokaa 7, Konawaena 2
Ceelyn Gail-Lucero cranked a two-run homer in the first inning, and Honokaa won the BIIF Division II third-place game on Wednesday at Lala Epenesa Jr. ballpark, claiming a spot in the HHSAA tournament for the third consecutive season.
Alexis Martinez batted 3 for 3 with two RBIs, Gail-Lucero finished with three RBIs, and Destynee Carvalho walked twice and scored two runs for the Dragons, who pounded seven hits.
Martinez went the distance for the win. She scattered seven hits, walked four and struck out two.
Andi Uemura also went the distance in the loss.
Erin Kaimuola-Bates and Magedlynn Anuntak each had two hits for the Wildcats.
Pono Yanagi, Kamehameha, 76
Riku Omata, Waiakea, 77
Ethan Hironaga, Hilo, 77
Isaiah Kanno, Waiakea, 79
Titan Oshura, Kealakehe, 79
Dillon Ah Chong, Kamehameha, 79
Ethan Jaehn, Kealakehe, 80
Scott Igawa, Waiakea, 84
Aiden Oki, Waiakea, 85
Corbin Warmbier, Hilo, 86
Emmitt Alcos, Makua Lani, 87
Riley Kaneshiro, Hilo, 89
Isaac Inouye, Waiakea, 90
Kobe Lorenzo, Kealakehe, 90
Jyson Breitbarth, Hilo, 92
Kaiden Lieto, Makua Lani, 94
Teague Adams, Kamehameha, 96
Yuga Tsuji, HPA, 98
Aaron Castillo, Hilo, 98
James Kagawa, Kealakehe, 100
Luke Ensey, HPA, 102
Zack Vermuelen, HPA, 120
Daniel Mark, HPA, 122
Chanelle Hwang, Hilo, 79
Tia Kualii, Waiakea, 82
Elle Otani, Waiakea, 83
Jaeda Yamasaki, Christian Liberty, 87
Jillian Mitsuda, Waiakea, 89
Tori Hironaga, Waiakea, 94
Kara Nagato, Hilo, 96
Maiya Matsuo, HPA, 97
Emma Faumauina, St. Joseph, 103
Ella Fischer, Konawaena, 105
Kayla Enanoria, Kamehameha, 124