Pearl City’s Mariel Galdiano will be the youngest player at next month’s U.S. Women’s Open. LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King, whose first win came on Maui, will be the oldest. Honolulu’s Stephanie Kono, who just helped UCLA to its third NCAA Championship, will be somewhere in between in her third Open appearance.
Kono finished second to Jennifer Rosales at the USGA’s City of Industry sectional a week ago. Her 36-hole score of 143 was 1-over par at Industry Hills Golf Club’s Eisenhower Course.
She will join Galdiano, King and 153 others at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. July 7-10. Hawaii’s Michelle Wie, 10th in the World Golf Rankings, will also be there.
Galdiano, a Maryknoll eighth-grader, won the Hawaii qualifier at Poipu Bay. She is the third-youngest qualifier in Women’s Open history, at 12 years, 11 months and 3 days. Alexis Thompson was 12 years, 4 months and 18 days old when she qualified for the 2007 championship and Morgan Pressel was 12 years, 11 months old when she qualified in 2001.
King, 55, won the 1989 and ‘90 Women’s Open championships. She will be playing her 30th Open, and first since 2004. She finished second in the Arizona sectional, a shot behind former Hawaii junior golfer Kyung Kim, who lives in Chandler, Ariz. Kim is one of 18 teens in this year’s Open.
Kono also qualified in 2006 and last year, failing to make the cut both times. She was recently named first-team All-American for the third straight year by the National Golf Coaches Association. In her junior season, the Punahou graduate led the Bruins in scoring (72.8) and top 10 finishes (6) and won the NCAA Central Regional — her fourth career tournament victory.
No one from Hawaii got through U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying, which concluded yesterday. John Ellis, this year’s Hawaii Pearl Open champion from San Jose, Calif., qualified by finishing fourth at the Bremerton, Wash., Sectional. Ellis shot 67-73 to get the fourth and final spot.
Parker McLachlin narrowly missed out at Summit, N.J. The Punahou graduate and PGA Tour member shot 73-67 to finish seventh. The top four advanced.
Former University of Hawaii golfer Pierre-Henri Soero (73-77) tied for 40th at Vero Beach, Fla. Waikoloa’s Eric Dugas (79-69) was 45th in New Jersey. Honolulu’s Alex Ching (71-76) and Kriss Kitt (78-74), from Ewa Beach, finished far back at Columbus, Ohio. Ching was exempt from local qualifying because, at No. 16, he is within the Top 50 in the World Golf Amateur Rankings.
Kihei’s Kirk Nelson withdrew after opening with a 76 in Dallas and Wailuku’s Kyle Hayashi did the same after shooting 82 at Bremerton. Former state high school champ Chan Kim (75-75), who lives in Gilbert, Ariz., was 32nd at Bremerton.
The 111th U.S. Open Championship is June 16-19 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.