Friday, November 27, 2015         

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Isagawa does it

She qualifies for the U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team with a victory in the Junior PGA Championship

By Ann Miller


Cassy Isagawa's year grows more amazing by the week.

The Baldwin High senior captured the 35th Junior PGA Championship yesterday with a one-putt par on the third playoff hole. Her win in one of junior golf's most prestigious events earns her a place on the Junior Ryder Cup team, which plays next month in Scotland.

Isagawa, 16, from Wailuku, is the first girl from Maui to qualify for the team, and her credentials are suddenly spectacular.

She won the state high school championship in May and followed that by capturing her age group in the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association state championship. Last week she was co-medalist at the Girls Junior America's Cup, leading Hawaii to its first win in 18 years at the national team competition.

HSJGA president Mary Bea Porter-King convinced the PGA of America to give Isagawa a special exemption to this week's Junior PGA at Sycamore Hills Golf Club.

Yesterday, Isagawa made Porter-King look good.

She went into the final round two back of Puerto Rico's Kyle Roig, but passed her with a 3-under-par 69 that featured five birdies, including a chip-in on the 16th. That got her to 3-under 213 for the tournament and into a playoff with Florida's Ginger Howard.

Both parred the first playoff hole (No. 18), with Isagawa sinking a 3-foot par putt for the second time in a matter of minutes. Isagawa's birdie putt lipped out on the next playoff hole (No. 17) and they went back to the 18th.

"I played a little smarter this time, hit 3-wood off the tee, but I was still in the rough," Isagawa recalled. "I hit my second shot and I had almost the same chip as before, and the same putt—almost in the same exact place. My ball mark was in my way."

Howard was having more of an adventure. Her approach shot also went right of the green in the thick rough, but she was buried deeper and had a more difficult angle. Her chip stopped 18 feet away and she missed her par.

Isagawa, for the third straight time, did not.

"The first one did a little 360 on me, so I wasn't sure of the break," said Isagawa, who is headed to Oregon next fall. "The second time I wasn't as confident and I was really nervous, my hands were shaking. The third time I told myself, 'You made the first two, you can't miss this.'

"I felt pretty confident over that putt."

She will join some of the nation's top juniors on the Junior Ryder Cup team, which plays Sept. 27-28 at Gleneagle Resort's PGA Centenary Course in Perthshire.

After the opening round of the U.S. Kids World Championship yesterday at Pinehurst, N.C., Allisen Corpuz of Waipahu is a shot out of first in the Girls 12 Division. Corpuz, going after her third U.S. Kids title, shot a 69. Honolulu's Hana Furuichi is tied for sixth after a 71.

Other divisions: Girls 8--T8, Millburn Ho 38 (nine holes); Girls 11--T47, Maddie White 91. Boys 7--T38, Isaiah Kanno 42; Boys 10--T100, Ryker Moriwaki 88; Boys 11--T20, Kyosuke Hara 73; T37, Shawn Lu 75.

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