Junior golf: Yanagi opts out, but four Big Islanders are in junior worlds

  • Qualifiers for junior worlds.

Pono Yanagi carved up Waikoloa Kings’ Course before turning down a spot at the junior world championships in favor of rest, relaxation and college preparation.

Kailua-Kona’s Yoonjeong Huh also earned runaway medalist honors earlier this week at the qualifier but doesn’t plan to compete at junior worlds.

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Securing qualifying spots for the July 10-13 event in San Diego from the Big Island were Hilo’s Lacey Uchida, Jake Otani and Noah Miyazono and Keaau’s Kaha’i’olelo Helm.

Yanagi, a recent Kamehameha graduate, put together rounds of 70 and 66 for an 8-under 136 score that was six shots clear of the rest of the ages 15-18 field.

“I wanted to spend time with my family and friends at home in Hilo before I head up to (college),” Yanagi texted the Tribune-Herald. “I am preparing myself and my golf game for my freshman year at Washington State, which is coming up quickly.”

Waiakea senior Isaiah Kanno was 1-over, and Jake Sequin of Mid-Pacific (Oahu) was eighth at 148. Last month, Sequin won the HHSAA title at Waikoloa. Kealakehe sophomore Ethan Jaehn was 7-over, and Waiakea senior Aidan Oki tied for 13th at 9-over

Huh, a Makua Lani freshman, closed with a 69 for a 10-stroke win in the girls 13-14 flight at even-par.

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Uchida, a Waiakea junior, also finished strong, carding a 71 for a 148 to earn the fourth and final qualifying spot in girls 15-18.

Otani’s 165 was good enough to advance in 11-12 flight, and Miyazono (167) and Helm (174) were second and third, respectively in ages 9-10.

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