Waiakea sophomore Trevor Hirata isn’t the type to talk a whole lot after a round of golf, even if he shoots better than everyone else. That’s his style, a quiet confidence that carries over to his game.
Armed with a trusty putter, Hirata carded a 4-over-par 75 to edge freshman teammate Shon Katahira by a stroke in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season-opener Wednesday at Hilo Muni, displaying Waiakea’s youthful one-two scoring punch.
The Warriors won the team title with a 324 total. Kamehameha, the only other team in the field, finished at 326.
Last season as a freshman, Hirata often contended but never won a BIIF meet. His closest margin was two shots. He was fifth at the BIIF championships last year, and returns as the highest finisher.
There are six league meets. He got his first medalist title of his BIIF career. Hirata’s subdued demeanor is always par for the course.
“It feels good, but everybody placed good,” he said. “I was not hitting the ball too good. It was a tough day, but I made a lot of putts.”
He landed on 10 of 18 greens, and went to work from there, turning in three birdies and eight pars against seven bogeys. Hirata didn’t double-bogey, a sign that he drained putts before big trouble gobbled his scorecard.
Typical of Hirata’s round was the par 4 18th hole, an uphill dogleg right that works best with a cut shot off the tee. He got on the green with a chance to save par with a downhill 15-footer. He dialed in the right read and speed and the ball dropped in.
“My putting saved me,” he said. “The key was patience and hitting the right shots. I think winning the team championship will be tough. Kamehameha has a good team this year. But we can if everybody shoots good.”
Despite a hefty wind that was only benevolent in short spurts, Katahira flashed the game that has made him one of the top golfers in the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association.
“I had a tough time on the front nine. I tried to get started on the back nine, but nothing happened,” he said. “I was even par on the back nine.
“My putting and chipping were very solid. If I can’t get my putting and chipping started, then nothing much happens. The wind was pretty crazy. It disturbed my chipping and putting.”
Kamehameha senior Cody Pereira, who played with Hirata and Hilo’s Casey Natatsu (84) in the first group, had an 8-over 79. Pereira’s round grew bigger with a three-putt on 18.
“It was pretty difficult with the wind and green conditions,” he said. “The greens were very fast for Muni and the wind felt like it was from Waikoloa Village. It’s the strongest I’ve seen it here.”
Pereira found about half the greens with his driver. He had three birdies and chased lower scores against the wind the rest of the time. Still, he saw a silver to the season-opener.
“My driver was pretty straight,” he said. “It was crooked the past couple of months. My goal is I want to place in some meets, and win the individual title as well as the team title.”