Golf: Hilo’s Uchida, Hawaii tie for Girls Junior America’s Cup title

  • From left to right, Hawaii captain Cathy Torchiana, Yoonjeong Huh, Lacey Uchida, Lana Calibuso-Kwee and Karissa Kilby.

Hilo’s Lacey Uchida is getting kind of good at this team tournament thing, even as she expands her horizons.

Uchida played a solid second to Maui’s Lana Calibuso-Kwee and joined her in a closer’s role Thursday as Hawaii made up a five-shot deficit in the final round to tie Washington as champion of the Girls Junior America’s Cup in Murrieta, Calif.

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“It means a lot to all of us to represent Hawaii,” Uchida said in a text to the Tribune-Herald. “Being able to tie for the win in this tournament was AMAZING.”

Uchida, who overcame a sluggish start to close with a even-par 72, led Waiakea High to the HHSAA girls golf championship in May, finishing third overall.

During three rounds at Bear Creek Golf Club, she finished 5-over and tied for ninth in the 18-team, 72-golfer field. Calibuso-Kwee shot 70 and tied for medalist honors with Washington’s Cassie Kim (73) at 7-under.

Kailua-Kona’s Yoonjeong Huh, who had a hot hand Wednesday with a 71, and Oahu’s Karissa Kilby each shot 79. Huh finished 10-over and Kilby was 16-over.

“We couldn’t have have pulled this off without having the support of one another and our coach (Cathy Torchiana), ” Uchida said. “We are super close friends and are always there to catch each other when we have tough days.

“Everyone played a part in this win, and I am so happy that I could be apart of this great team with even greater teammates.”

Uchida lost four strokes on her final nine holes in a 74 on Wednesday that didn’t contribute to Hawaii’s score (only the top three count). She appeared headed for more trouble Thursday with bogeys on Nos. 2, 5 and 6. She steadied herself with birdies on 7 and 9 and played the back nine at 1-under, making birdie on 15 and 16.

“My putting was not on point in the beginning,” Uchida said. “I was missing a lot of important putts. But on the back nine it got a lot better and I was lucky that some putts dropped.

“We saw the scoreboard at the turn and we were two back, so we knew that we had to have some good shots in order to pull it off. Every shot was very important during the last five holes.”

Hawaii (221) caught Washington (226) on No. 17 and held off hard-charging Mexico (215), which tied for third with Southern California (225). Hawaii and Washington were each at 6-over 654.

• Hilo Isaiah Kanno carded a second second consecutive 2-over 72 at the Boys Junior PGA Championship was 1-under and in a tie for 48th (76 made the cut) ahead of the final round in Hartford, Conn.

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Kanno marked his third-round scorecard with five birdies, five bogeys and a double-bogey.

Coming off a scorching 60 on Wednesday, Miami’s Jake Beber-Frankel carded a 65 to take a two-shot lead.

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