UPDATED: Waiakea Alum Yada Wins First Professional Golf Tourney
***Updated at 5:45 p.m. with quotes from Britney Yada and additional information.***
Waiakea High School graduate Britney Yada picked up her first professional golf victory Wednesday, winning the Cactus Tour event at Apache Creek Golf Club in Arizona.
The Cactus Tour, created in 2005, is a professional golf tour that hosts over 20 events a year in Arizona and Nevada.
Yada opened the tournament Monday with a 70 on the on the par-72 course. She followed it up with a second round 69, which tied for her best round of the season.
“In round two, I putted extremely well,” Yada said in a phone interview. “I did not play very well on the front nine of the second day, but I just turned it on on the back nine.” She carded five birdies in the final nine holes of Tuesday’s round.
She took a six stroke lead into Wednesday’s final round and held on for the win with a final round 72.
Yada finished with a six stroke victory over Jessi White, who shot a final round 72 to finish at +1. She took home a winning purse of $1,800.
“No words to explain,” said Yada of the moment when she realized that she won her first professional tournament. “I finally believed that I could do this, that I belong.”
In 11 events this season, Yada has finished in the top 10 four times, including each of her last three starts.
Yada is not the only Hilo native to win on the Cactus Tour. Kimberly Kim, who played collegiate golf at the University of Denver, won the Tres Rios tournament in March by five strokes over amateur Emily Campbell. Kim earned $1,900 for winning the event. She was second on the tour money list entering this week’s tournament.
Yada, who played college golf at Portland State University from 2009-2013, last earned a victory on the collegiate level at the Big Sky Championship in 2011. She was a three time All-Big Sky Conference First Team golfer and was an All-Big Sky Second Team selection in her senior season.
The next event for the Waiakea graduate is the 36-hole U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier, held May 28 at The Country Club at DC Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Apache Creek Golf Club results
1. Britney Yada (-5)
2. Jessi White (+1)
3. Armana Christianson* (+5)
4. Samantha Postillion* (+8)
5. Mikayla Harmon* (+11)
T6. Bobbi Lancaster (+13)
T6. Candra Sumedhatip (+13)
8. Taylor Slagle (+14)
9. Felicia Titus (+18)
10. Brittany Tallman (+21)
11. Christina Ferrari* (+26)
12. Megan Francis (+29)
13. Mackenzie Sowers* (NC)
* – denotes amateur participant