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Chiarella, Isagawa both set for big seasons in college

August 5, 2013 - Robert Collias
The Maui Open title went to Garrett Okamura, but a couple of side stories have to peak the interests of local golf fans.

Defending champion Alex Chiarella finished third in this event after a summer that included an appearance in the U.S. Public Links Championship, where he missed match play by one stroke.

Chiarella, a two-time MIL champion for Seabury Hall, said he is ready for a big year as a sophomore at the University of San Diego.

"(My expectations are) much higher than my freshman year," he said after Sunday's round at The Dunes at Maui Lani. "I’ve played some good golf in the last couple months and my game feels really good and I am looking forward to helping my team make a run towards the (NCAA) playoffs.”

The legend of Cassy Isagawa grew a little more on Sunday after her 72 tied two others for the best round of the day while she played from the championship tees.

Isagawa, a former state champion at Baldwin and Junior PGA national champion, was a first-team All-American for Oregon as a freshman and then led the Ducks to the NCAA tournament as a sophomore. She won her first college title last year in Japan, but wants more as a junior.

“Personal goals? Get first-team All-American, just play my best out there, get another college win . . . at a really elite level, anything like nationals, Pac-12s,” she said. “Improving every day and learning every day.”

Okamura, a 2000 Baldwin and 2005 UH-Hilo graduate who is the head pro at The Dunes, said the younger generation up and coming on the Maui golf scene.

"Very impressive, I can't wait until they go back to school," he said.


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