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Shimizu holds lead to win first collegiate tournament

WAIKOLOA, Hawaii – Utah Valley University junior and Hawaii native Kaylee Shimizu posted her first collegiate win by claiming individual medalist honors with an even-par 216 at the 54-hole Anuenue Spring Break Classic at Waikoloa Resort Kings’ Golf Course on Saturday on the Island of Hawaii.

After carding an even-par 72 on Thursday and a career-low 2-under-par 70 on Friday, Shimizu managed to hold her lead by posting a 2-over-par 74 during Saturday’s final round to record her first collegiate victory. The even-par 216 is not only a career-best for Shimizu, but also ties for the second-best 54-hole score in UVU women’s golf history. For the tournament, the Wolverine junior and Wailuku, Hawaii native posted a total of 10 birdies at the three-day event.

Shimizu managed to claim individual medalist honors by one stroke, as Oklahoma State’s finished just one shot back with a 1-over-par 217 (74-73-70).

Behind Shimizu’s first individual victory, fellow Hawaiian and UVU sophomore Keila Baladad too had a strong showing for the Wolverines by tying for 13th with a 14-over-par 230. Baladad carded scores of 81, 73 and 76 at the event, as well as the team’s only eagle on the weekend by recording an eagle on the par-5 474-yard 18th hole on Thursday.

Senior Carly Dehlin Hirsch was next for UVU by tying for 20th with an 18-over-par 234. Dehlin Hirsch posted scores of 77, 77 and 80 on her way to the top-20 finish. Senior Ana Raga (84-78-82-244) and freshman Nathalie Irlbacher (85-82-86-253) rounded out Utah Valley’s competitors at the event by taking 39th and 44th, respectively.

As a team, the Wolverines dropped two spots on the final day to post a fourth-place finish out of eight teams with a 60-over-par 924 (314-298-312). Oklahoma State won the tournament with a 21-over 885, while Arkansas State took second (911) and the host Hawaii Rainbow Wahine third (920).

The Wolverines will now return to the mainland to take part at the Fresno State Classic at Copper River Country Club in Fresno on April 1-2. The event will mark UVU’s final tune-up before the WAC Championship that will take place on April 18-20 in Lakewood, Washington.