Golfer Sakai showing vast improvement

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Kate Sakai is not one to get too excited. When she birdied a par-5 at Pine Knolls on Sept. 20, there was no fist pump from Davie’s No. 1 golfer.

“I didn’t even realize it because I thought it was a par-4,” the unassuming Sakai said. “The girl who was keeping score said: ‘Was that a par?’ I said: ‘I think so.’ Then my mom (Carrie McGuire) was like: ‘Kate, good birdie.’ I said: ‘What do you mean? It’s a par-4, right?’ She said: ‘No, it’s a par-5.’”

You might not be able to tell how Sakai’s round is going from her cool demeanor, but there’s no doubt she’s a vastly improved golfer.    

In six nine-hole matches as a freshman, her scoring average was 53.

In 10 nine-hole matches as a sophomore, her average was 52.7.

Her junior season did not start well – she shot 58 at Salem Glen on Aug. 17 – but she’s fared considerably better of late. She shot 47 in Davie’s next trip to Salem Glen. She carded a career-best 45 at Wilshire on Sept. 11.

Then she turned in new career-best round at Pine Knolls: 6-over 42 to finish 10th overall among Central Piedmont Conference rivals.

After triple-bogeying her first hole, Sakai went par, par, double- bogey, par, par, bogey, birdie, bogey. The effort shaved her junior-season average to 49.6.

“I’ve been working a lot on putting and chipping,” Sakai said. “Normally I show up a little early to practice and putt before we go on the range. I play like twice a week when we’re not in season. That (low 40s score) has been a goal for a long time.”

Sakai wasn’t the only War Eagle who had a career-best round.

Freshman Gwynyth Swan recorded a 49, bettering her previous best by four shots. She broke 50 for the first time by bogeying five holes. Senior Sophia Garza came up with two pars and shot 52. Her previous best was 53.

In team scoring, Reagan shot 2-under 106 to take first for the fourth time in five CPC meets. West Forsyth had 116, Reynolds 129, Mt. Tabor 141 and Davie 143.