2010 OIA Golf Championships
(Mon) April 26, 2010
Edward Jackson (OIA Contributing Writer)
Moanalua won all of the titles at the Oahu Interscholastic Association golf championships on April 19 highlighted by great performances by freshman Eimi Koga and junior Tyler Ota. Moanalua, anchored by Ota (144), David Saka (149), Jefferson Yee (149), Jae Maeng (150) and Christian Agosta (150) won the boys title. In addition, Moanalua captured the girls title with the aid of Koga (151), Christine Kobashikawa (167), Elizabeth Shishido (167), Ashley Yuen (170) and Jeanine Shimomura (198).
Ota successfully defended his OIA individual title when he carded a second consecutive 72 in the 36-round tourney to edge Ryan Kuroiwa of Aiea (146). "Defending a title is hard to do, especially since I really wanted to repeat again," Ota said. "I really felt the pressure on the 17th hole. But I kept my head high and focused on the task of winning."
At the end of the opening round which was held on April 12 at Leilehua Golf Course, Ota was tied for first place with Kuroiwa and Campbell's Rudy Cabalar. At the start of the final round, Ota took command over his two competitors on the first four holes. He maintained that lead the rest of the way, but had to fight off a challenging double bogey on the 17th hole to win.
"I came out here to this course on Saturday to get some practice rounds in with the help of my grandfather (Craig Ota)," the junior said. "I think that practice time helped me become familiar enough with the design of this particular course to win."
Ota says he is looking forward to playing in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association state championships, which will be held May 4 and 5 at Turtle Bay Resort. "I'm glad to be going to states once again," Ota said. "Hopefully our team can do good this year. Last season, we (Na Menehune) finished runner-up to 'Iolani. Hopefully we can beat them this year."
Koga had to rally from behind to win the OIA girls individual crown by a single stroke with a 74 score in the final round. Koga was locked in a tight battle throughout the tournament with Mililani's Maryssa Shigesato. Entering the final round, Koga trailed Shigesato by two strokes. Koga continued to trail until the final three holes, when she converted her par opportunities and Shigesato had three straight bogeys.
"It hard for me to believe that I actually won, but I had visions in my mind that I could do it," Koga said. "My goal at the start of the day was to get as close as possible. But slowly I somehow managed to get even at the end and won on the last shot."