Kapolei Girls Golf
(Thu) April 1, 2010
(OIA Contributing Writer)
Although Kapolei will not win any team titles with only three members on its girls golf team, the young Hurricanes have showed a willingness to resiliently compete against more experienced golfers. Led by freshman Sydney Maluenda, the trio has been a contender for individual honors in every Oahu Interscholastic Association golf tournament this season.
In four OIA tournaments this season, Maluenda has finished among the top three golfers at the Mamala Bay, Makaha East and Ala Wai events. Teammates Mary Campany and Nikki Tamayo have showed steady improvements in lowering their stroke totals each time they have stepped out on the golf course. Lending support to each other on the golf course has provided great motivation for the three golfers to play at their best at these tournaments says Kapolei coach Cass Ishitani.
“We have only a handful of golfers on our girls team compared to other schools. But they give one another confidences. And with that confidences our team has been able to play with pride in knowing that we can compete against the larger-sized teams,” Ishitani said. “What I like about our girls team is the relationship bonding that the girls have,” Ishitani points out. “The three of them have formed a real close friendship and work together in figuring out the best ways to attack a shot.”
Maluenda, who placed second in the March 29th Ala Wai tourney, says her secret for playing so well at an early age is “I never let a shot affect the rest of my game. I don’t look back. I look forward.” That formula has earned Maluenda the praise of her coach. “She’s a top five golfer in the OIA,” Ishitani said. “If she keeps up her dedication to the sport she has the potential to win states.”
Maluenda echoed Ishitani’s comments. “I definitely want to play better in the future,” Maluenda said. “I play year-round so I hope with more practice I can get better…Winning states is a goal that I want to go after.”
Playing in different summer leagues is helpful says Maluenda. “Getting a chance to play on all type of courses helps me develop a feel for golfing under different conditions. My game is mostly me against the golf course. I don’t really worry about who I am golfing against. It’s up to me to play good rounds,” Maluenda said.
Campany is a golfer who enjoys the challenge of seeking to better her performance. “I’ve only been playing for two years,” Campany said. “There are a lot of golfers that are better than me…but I think I can get better if I keep hitting. I’m hoping that one day I will get to the point where I can put together a competitive game.” Ishitani says Campany, a junior, plays very good considering that she has been a golfer for only two years. “She has a lot of potential to get better. And she never gives up,” Ishitani emphasized. “My great grandmother (Grace Woodworth) gave my dad (Jerry Campany) some (golf) clubs and he just decided to take me with him when he went golfing,” said Campany in explaining how she got started in the sport. “From there, I enjoyed playing with my dad so much I decided to spend my after-school time practicing at getting better…There’s a lot to learn out on the course. For me I know once I get better at putting then my overall scores will drop,” Campany said.
Tamayo says golf “is a very relaxing sport” and gives her an opportunity to “enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of the outdoors.” A freshman, Tamayo says she received a lot of encouragement from her family. “My dad (John Tamayo) got me into playing. Ever since I first stepped out on the golf course I found myself wanting to play all the time…My family is constantly encouraging me to go out there and play my best,” Tamayo said. She added, “I’m hoping over time I will get better in this sport. And hopefully get a good score. I feel if I continue to practice as often as I can then I will get there soon.”
The team practices Monday through Thursday at the Kapolei Golf Course. The course was once home to the Ladies Hawaiian Open and is considered by Golf Digest Magazine as having a par-72 championship layout.
“The management of Kapolei Golf Course has been very helpful to our golfers,” Ishitani said. “They support the progressive of youth golf.”