SACO — Hashilla Rivai of Thornton Academy noticed her approach shots were a little off earlier in the season. All the other parts of her game were strong. Her drives were longer than a year ago. Her chipping and putting were accurate and she was still shooting low scores.

“I was less accurate this year,” she said.

Sometimes when you hit it longer, you sacrifice accuracy.

“Hashilla was still very consistent,” said Thornton Coach Jeff Camire. “She doesn’t waver too much. She usually shots in the mid-to-high 30s (for nine holes).

“I told her she would be more comfortable when we started playing 18 holes in the championships. Playing 18 holes gives her a little buffer so that she can recover from the three-putts.”

Rivai, a senior from Jakarta, Indonesia, will be favored to win her second consecutive state girls’ title Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. The boys also will play for individual titles at Natanis. Last year, Rivai shot a 2-under 70 to win.

Rivai didn’t want to predict her score. With rain and cold predicted, weather could be a factor.

“The team states were really cold. It depends on how I’m playing. I just want to have fun,” she said.

In last Saturday’s team championships, the cold didn’t seem to affect Rivai. She shot the day’s best score, a par 72, to lead the Golden Trojans to their first state title in six years. Granted, Rivai was playing from the forward tees, but there are many who believe she could match the best boys in the state shot-for-shot from the regular tees. On average, the forward tees are 1,000 yards shorter for 18 holes.

“She’s an elite player,” said Camire.

Asked about beating the boys, Rivai deflects the question.

“I don’t know. I feel like we’re on the same level,” she said.

Rivai has shown that playing 18 holes is a chance to showcase her game. Her performances in the past two weeks and last year indicate as much.

Along with being the medalist in the team championship, she was low in the SMAA team qualifier the week before with a 72 at Natanis. At the SMAA/WMC individual state girls’ qualifier last month at Willowdale Golf Course, Rivai shot a 70.

Rivai said she played a lot of golf this past summer, including three tournaments in Los Angeles. At the Los Angeles Junior Open on the American Junior Golfers Association circuit, she tied for 15th with rounds of 75-74-81. There were 21 golfers in the tournament, which was won by a golfer from Thailand who shot a 54-hole total of 206. Rivai played in the qualifying tournament to get into the AJGA event and also a 36-hole college combine tournament.

“After school ended last June, I went home for a month and then I went to Los Angeles with my parents for the tournaments. I returned home for a month before returning to school,” she said.

Rivai said there was never a question of returning for her senior year.

“I like it here,” said the soft-spoken Rivai. “It’s a good school and I like living in the dorms with my friends. I get to practice golf every day.”

Senior Greg Kalagias has been paired with Rivai in every team match for the last two seasons.

“She’s fun to watch,” said Kalagias. “She hits it great. Hashilla has the same routine on every shot.”

Kalagias said he feeds off her game.

“When she makes a birdie, I want to match her on the next hole. I want to beat her but it’s pretty tough when she’s shooting 2 to 3 under for nine holes. I beat her at Nonesuch this season when I shot a 34 to her 36.”

Rivai said she was expecting a call Thursday night from the Purdue University women’s golf coach.

The Big Ten school has emerged as her top choice.

“I want to be a dentist and Purdue has a pre-dentistry program,” she said.

And, of course, there will be a little golf mixed in.


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