Kasey Maralack’s putting saved the day.
Standing in second place overall and trailing by two points with the final round of the Drive Chip and Putt Regional Qualifier on the way, the 15-year-old Mount Si High sophomore dug down deep for a solid showing on the green.
She delivered and notched the victory.
“It was really critical for me to get those three good putts in play. Every putt counted for that one because I wasn’t in the lead there,” said Maralack, who amassed 60 of a possible 75 points on the putts from 6-, 20- and 30-feet out. Her 30-footer just missed the hole.
By finishing second in all three categories — three shots each — on Sept. 8 at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, she grabbed the most overall points, 148, to qualify for her fourth Drive Chip and Putt National Championship at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia on April 5, 2020, four days before the Masters Tournament. The second-place finisher at regionals had 140 points.
“I definitely worked really hard this year because I knew it was gonna be my last chance to go back (she ages out at 15). Tiger Woods won last year, so I always know that the previous winner comes, which is really exciting to get to see him,” said Maralack, who first qualified for the finals at age 9 in 2014 and made it to Augusta the last three years in a row. She finished second in 2018.
Maralack unleashed her longest drive of 195 yards at regionals because she wanted to keep the ball in play after watching other competitors hit their balls out of bounds. Her longest drive at a Drive Chip and Putt event was 233 yards last year, and her longest drive in a tournament was 260 yards at last year’s sub-regionals at The Home Course in DuPont.
Following her 12th-place finish at the 4A state tournament and all-4A KingCo first-team selection with Mount Si, Maralack won the 14-15s Washington Junior Golf Association District 2 title in July at Willows Run Golf Club in Redmond. On the Coyote Creek course, she played 5,800 yards and shot her best-ever rounds of 72-68 (4-under).
“I think I’ve definitely really improved on my short game. I’ve worked really hard on those because at the end of the day, you can hit the ball really far, but it comes down to your short game to score,” said Maralack, who’s also grown stronger mentally on the course over the years.
On the improvement front, Maralack aims to get some extra distance on her drives so she has a better chance to hit her shorter irons closer to the green.
“It’s been really helpful to have my family’s support because they’ve helped me through a lot of the improvements in my game,” said Maralack, who is a member at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge and holds a 1.5 GHIN handicap.
The Record asked Maralack a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life:
What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?
What special skill would you like to learn?
I definitely want to learn some sort of instrument.
What’s your favorite kind of music?
I like mostly pop music.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Just to work hard because you get what your work for.
What super power would you like to have?