Although tendinitis cost Kallie Sakamoto a month of her Washougal High School golf season, she returned just in time to win districts and tie for second place at the 2A state tournament Wednesday, on the Indian Canyon course in Spokane.
“I wasn’t expecting it because of how long I’ve been out,” Sakamoto said. “I just took my time and played smart, and that’s what you have to do.”
After Tuesday’s opening round, Sakamoto sat in sixth place with a 79. She hit powerful drives on holes 4 and 15, and had great approach shots throughout.
“She hit the ball well,” head coach Scott Allen said afterwards. “If she goes out and does that again, and a few putts drop for her, then she will have an even better score.”
Sakamoto did just that, improving by three strokes in the finals.
After punching the ball out of the trees, she landed her approach just a few feet from the second hole and putted in for birdie. She dropped another birdie on 10, crushed her drive again on 15 and finished the round with a 76.
“The challenging part to me was the hills and walking up them. It was a climb,” Sakamoto said. “If you push it or pull it, you end up in the trees and it just goes downhill from there. It’s challenging, but it’s also fun.”
Sakamoto finished with a two-day total of 155 strokes, jumped up four places, and tied for second place with Morgan Baum, of East Valley, Yakima. Epharta’s Kenedee Peters won the state championship with a 146.
Allen said sky’s the limit for Sakamoto. She still has one more year of high school.
“She’s got a good head for golf. If she hits a shot she doesn’t like, she makes up for it on the next one,” he said. “She knows what she needs to do for her swing and she makes really good choices on club selection. I’m kind of just there, I guess, as a distraction. Maybe make stuff a little bit lighter.”
Although Sakamoto still feels a twinge in her left wrist from time to time, her parents, coaches and teammates give her the courage to keep on swinging.
“I’ll remember the course and the beautiful views and the people around me,” she said. “Any condition is fun for me. I just want to get out and play. Golf is my four seasons.”