Kate Hu has never played well at Morongo GC, and she’ll be the first to say it.
“Every time I play at Morongo, I play really bad,” she said. “Previously I couldn’t reach the greens and stuff, but this time I could so it was easier.”
But it quickly became evident that history was not going to repeat itself for the San Diego native at the SoCal Girls Junior Amateur Championship on Sunday. Despite her previous difficulties on this course, she rose to the occasion and won her first SCGA title in wire-to-wire fashion.
“It feels really good,” Hu said. “It was really nice to play well here.”
She carded both of her rounds under par, standing as the only player in the field to do so, shooting 71-71 to best the field by four strokes.
Going up against the best junior golfers in the region, Hu quickly became a standout performer. After the first round, she found herself sharing the lead in the clubhouse with two other players at one-under. The second day brought increasingly challenging conditions, with the wind swirling heavy at Morongo GC’s Champions Course.
But Kate maintained a consistent pace, primarily relying on pars while minimizing mistakes. And she did just that, aside from a bogey on No. 14 which she promptly erased with two birdies in her last three holes.
“I really like No. 16 because I birdied that hole both days,” Hu said.
She finished the championship at two-under 142. Nikki Oh, who became the youngest ever to compete in the U.S. Women’s Amateur earlier this year, finished in second place at two-over alongside Eliana Saga.
In 36 holes, Hu carded only four bogeys. Her capacity to mitigate mistakes and maintain a steady performance while the rest of the field struggled to navigate the wind was a significant factor in her eventual win. Another key factor that set Kate apart from her competitors was her short game and putting, which came in handy with Morongo’s undulating and quick greens.
“I was really consistent,” Hu said. “My short game and putting were good. I made a lot of up and downs today so that was good.”