It didn’t quite finish the way she wanted, but the ending was sweet and satisfying, nonetheless.
Waiakea’s Ciera Min capped her high school career as runner-up Wednesday at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association golf championships, finishing seven shots behind the runaway winner, Punahou freshman Mariel Galdiano.
Min said the finality of it all didn’t hit her until it was over and her friends greeted her with lei at Kaanapali Golf Course on Maui.
“It was a great experience,” said the two-time defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion. “It’s nice to think that I’m leaving one great team for another great team at Gonzaga.”
Min has a full-ride scholarship waiting for her with the Bulldogs of Spokane, Wash.
In past state tournaments, her back-to-back 1-over 72s would have put her in the thick of title contention. But Galdiano, who qualified for the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open before her eighth-grade year, started the day with a four-shot lead and didn’t let up as she carded a 69 to finish at 5-under.
“She played great,” Min said. “I knew coming into the round that it wasn’t about her shooting high today, somebody else was going to have to shoot low.”
Min, who improved on her tie for third at states last year, was the only non-Buffanblu golfer in the top five.
Allisen Corpuz (71) shot 6-over and was third, Aiko Leong (74) carded a 151 and defending champion Kacie Komoto (73) was another shot back as Punahou (9-over 435) grabbed its sixth team title in seven years. Waiakea (472) secured its fourth second-place finish during the stretch. Iolani (476) was third.
The Warriors’ Andi Igawa fired her second straight 80 and was 15th at 18-over, and Shaina Mizusawa improved her opening-day score by six strokes with an 81 that left her 32nd in the field of 66.
Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Shantel Antonio turned in a 174 for the two rounds, Hilo’s Amanda Loeffler was at 176, while Hilo’s Annie Sadamoto and Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Healani Kaaihili drastically lowered their scores during the second round, finishing at 205 and 227, respectively.
Min met her first objective of the day: to enjoy the experience.
“We did (have fun),” she said. “It was a great group.”
She twice got back to even-par with birdies on Nos. 3 and 12, but each time she quickly gave the shot back with a bogey. She also lost a shot on No. 18, a hole she had double-bogeyed a day earlier.
Even Galdiano had trouble on the 413-yard par-4 hole. She took only three bogeys over the 36 holes, two on No. 18.