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Tyler Ota and Kimi Koga

Moanalua High Golf

(Tue) April 5, 2011

Edward Jackson (OIA Contributing Writer)

The road of repeating success at a golf tournament can be extremely difficult, but Moanalua High School golfers Tyler Ota and Kimi Koga both say they are up to the challenge

In 2009 and 2010, Ota won the boys individual title at the Oahu Interscholastic Association golf championships. The senior will get an opportunity at garnering a third public school title at this season’s OIA championships at Makaha West Golf Course on April 19th and 20th.

"Defending a title is hard to do, especially since I really want to repeat again," Ota said.  “I will keep my head high and focused on the task of winning."

At the 2010 OIA tourney, Koga, a freshman at the time, won the girls individual title by a single stroke with a 36-hole score of 7-over 151.

Entering the second round of the two-day event, Koga trailed Mililani’s Maryssa 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 that tournament was to get as close to the top of the leaderboard as possible. But slowly I somehow managed to get even at the end and win on the last shot. My goal this year is to repeat, but I know this won’t be easy. I just have to believe in myself and in my ability to do well.”

The 15-year-old says playing golf year-round is the main ingredient for her success at such an early age.

"I try to play golf as much as I can and have played in lots of tournaments," Koga said. "Since I play (golf) all of the time, I don’t feel any pressure out there on the course. I just go the any tournament that I’m playing in and play as if I’m playing in a practice session."

Last July, Koga won the girls 13-14 age-group division at the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships. Koga carded an even-par 216 for three rounds of golf at the tournament held in San Diego at the Sycuan Resort’s Oak Glen Course against a field of competitors from around the world.

However, Ota says he will feel a lot of pressure when he steps on the course, but added he will be ready for the challenge

“I’m glad to be playing in the OIA championships once again,” Ota said. “But I know repeating will be hard and every golfer out there will have their eyes on me. What I need to do is to prepare myself as much as possible. I normally will get some practice time at the golf course that I will be playing a tournament at to become familiar with the design of the course. I think this strategy has been key to my winning."


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