TULSA — Had she finished top 15, Alexandra Kaui would have heard her name called when individuals were honored following Friday’s final round of the NCAA women’s golf championships.
She would have received a plaque or some small trophy, too, and she probably would have enjoyed the hardware. Also, it would have been secondary.
Kaui wouldn’t have enjoyed the accolades any more than the bump and run through rough left of the par 5 16th green that blew everybody’s mind and left her something close to a tap-in for birdie.
Really, she probably wouldn’t have enjoyed being a bigger part of the post-tourney ceremony any more than she enjoyed the six-foot bogey save she canned after hitting in the water right of the par 3 14th green, or the four-footer she made to get up and down on the 15th.
Of course, that’s to say nothing of the 18th, where the Honolulu freshman outdrove her playing partners before sticking her approach eight feet from the hole and rolling her putt into the heart of the cup in front of the hundreds who came out to watch at Tulsa Country Club.
It was enough to finish 16th. Kaui will find a way to live with it.
It wasn’t all that she’d hoped for after finding herself alone atop the individual leaderboard after Wednesday’s second round, having helped fuel her team to its own second-round edge, the Sooners looking like real contenders to claim the program’s first national championship.
Nevertheless, her finish was a statement, offering something more telling and important about her.
“The tournament didn’t go the way I wanted it to in the end,” Kaui said, “but I really loved the way I finished because it shows I have character.”