Alex Kaui wasn’t happy with the way she finished at the Sunrise Region girls golf meet.
She was more than satisfied with where her Green Valley team ended, though.
Kaui shot 2-under-par 70 to place second, and the Gators took three of the top four spots on the leaderboard en route to a 303 and the team championship Tuesday at DragonRidge Country Club.
Coronado was second at 318, and Basic junior Jamie Donizio earned medalist honors with a 3-under 69.
“It feels good to lead them to victory,” Kaui said. “I’ve always wanted to have a winning team, and I’ve always wanted to help out with the team. It makes me feel really awesome.”
The Gators junior was 5 under through 15 holes before a double bogey on No. 16 and a bogey on No. 18 dropped her one spot behind Donizio.
Green Valley freshman Mercedes Khumnark shot 76 for third, and junior teammate Sarah Thomas carded a 77 for fourth.
“I just told myself to keep going and don’t stop,” Kaui said. “Once you stop, you hit a wall, and you can’t progress any further. So I told myself to not think about it and try to stay in the fairway. Don’t get in trouble. But that happened a little at the end.”
The 18th hole proved troublesome all day, with the field averaging 6.9 strokes on the hazard-laden, 425-yard par 5. Kaui hit her opening drive into the water, then scrambled to make bogey after taking a drop.
“Our girls are performing at the opportune time,” Green Valley coach Greg Murphy said. “I don’t like the way we finished 18, and we do need to improve on that for next week. But the girls all know they need to improve in certain areas. Three of our top four went in the hazard on 18.”
Donizio recorded an eagle on the fourth hole and added three birdies for a 33 on the back nine en route to qualifying for her third straight Class 4A state meet.
On No. 4, Donizio teed off with a 240-yard drive down the middle of the fairway and stroked a pitching wedge from a dirt spot that pulled just left of the pin for an eagle putt on the 385-yard par 5.
“I knew the putt from a practice round and made it,” Donizio said. “And the first hole on the back, I went the way I’ve never went before, and I was nervous because I couldn’t even see the green. But I hit it 3 feet from the green and made (birdie).”
The round was a career best for Donizio, who averaged 78.8 during the regular season.
“It doesn’t feel real,” she said. “I totally don’t even believe that I shot 3 under. My heart was racing because I had to par the last hole.”
Melanie Chambers led Coronado with a 78, tying for fifth individually with Silverado’s Brittany Whatley.
Donizio and Basic teammate Courtney Hagen, Whatley, Canyon Springs’ Taylor Candley and Foothill’s April Ruelas qualified for state as individuals.
Murphy said the win is “nice,” but that next week’s state meet is where the “big prize” lies.
“Our gals are still hungry,” he said. “They didn’t feel like they performed up to our standards. And that’s nice going into next week, when everything’s on the line.”
The state tournament is set for Oct. 19 and 20 at Bear’s Best Golf Club.
Contact reporter Sean Walker at email@example.com or 702-383-0430.In-depth high school sports coverage