Kasey Maralack will be hauling her clubs back to Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia for the third time.
The Mount Si High freshman emerged victorious at the recent Drive Chip and Putt Regional Championship at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place and will compete in another nationals event on April 7, the Sunday before the prestigious Masters Tournament. The 14-year-old will be part of the 80-golfer field of junior linksters representing 27 American states and four Canadian provinces.
“It’s just kind of a lot of skill and luck combined,” Maralack said of the nine-shot regional competition, which she also advanced past to her other nationals appearances in 2014 and 2018. “It kind of shows how hard it is, just to kind of get back. There’s so many kids that try out and they’re all just such good golfers. I guess it just depends on the day.”
Nationals consists of six shots, so Maralack will be practicing a ton at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge — where she’s a member — for the next six months to gear up for the big event. Consistency and getting more speed on her swing for driving distance will be keys to her training sessions.
Maralack drives the ball off the tee in the 220- to 230-yard range these days, and she’d like to be reaching 250 yards when she hits the Augusta course. She nailed a 230-yard drive at her last nationals in April.
“Chipping and putting have always been my strength, so for this competition that kind of worked out pretty well because that’s where you get your most points to qualify. I think it’s always good to improve in that because in golf if you mess up, that’s kind of the parts that’s gonna save you,” said Maralack, who practices at her local club almost every day and plays a round every weekend.
At age 9, Maralack qualified for the inaugural nationals and won the drive competition with a 168-yarder. Last April, she snagged second place overall in the 12-13-year-old division. She needed to get her final putt from 15 feet out within one foot of the 18th hole, but struck it long by one foot to take the runner-up spot.
Maralack first ventured into the golf realm when she was 3 years old.
“I watched my sister growing up so she was kind of like a person that I looked up to, and that really got me into it,” Kasey said of sister Caitlin, who is a junior and plays NCAA Division I golf at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. “Seeing her made me kind of want to be like her — and better than her.”
When Kasey’s laughter subsided, she noted that Caitlin shone at Mount Si High and qualified for state all four years and finished second once.
Kasey competes in Washington Junior Golf Association tournaments and sports a 3.4 GHIN handicap at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. She said the best part about golfing is, “It’s kind of a good challenge. You always want to get better, you always want to win a tournament. Even if you improve one thing, there’s always gonna be something else you need to work on.”
She’ll place the Maralack name back on the Mount Si High girls golf roster when the season starts in the spring.
“I’m really excited to be a part of the team. It should be really fun, just kind of playing with other people, getting to know them,” she said.