The Valley’s own Kasey Maralack has joined a select group of youth golfers after making it to a nationwide golf competition this spring.
Maralack, 16, and a junior at Mount Si High School, qualified for the annual Drive, Chip and Putt in September 2019. The Augusta, GA-based competition only accepts 80 youth golfers from across the country, and Maralack is one of only four golfers who’s qualified four times.
“It feels really cool just because of going through the process so many times,” Maralack said.
Although she qualified for the 2020 competition, the event was postponed last spring due to safety concerns as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading through the country.
When schools were closed last spring, Maralack realized the tournament wasn’t going to happen. At first, she said the date was moved back to October, then November. Eventually it was cancelled and moved to April 11-12 of this year. Despite the delay, Maralack was excited to go. She netted a second place overall win in her age division.
At 16, she’s too old to compete in future events, but since she qualified as a 15-year-old, she was allowed to compete.
Maralack golfs all year, and last year was no exception. While golf courses were closed during the early months of the pandemic, when they opened back up, she resumed her practice schedule. Her home course is The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge.
Golf is a family sport as Maralack grew up watching her older sister, Caitlan, play it growing up. Caitlan Maralack played women’s golf at the University of Hartford.
Maralack said growing up watching her sister golf proved influential.
“I always just wanted to follow and play too,” she said.
She found out she enjoyed the sport early, after starting to play at the age of three. Her passion for the sport has paid off as she’s made it to the Drive, Chip and Putt Augusta National in 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2021. In 2018, she was fewer than 2 feet and 3 inches away from the cup on her two putts, according to Drive, Chip and Putt. Contestants have the chance to hit three drives, three chips and three putts in qualifying events, but just two chances at each in the finals.
Maralack also won the Girls Division at the American Junior Golf Association competition last year, where she held the lead through both rounds.
She once met three-time Masters champion Gary Player of South Africa. Maralack’s parents were born in Cape Town, as was Maralack’s sister, before her family moved to the U.S. in 2000.
Moving forward, Maralack said her goal is to play college golf, and then focus on outside tournaments. High school golf season is also coming up, and she looks forward to playing matches again with her team.
King County is currently in Phase 3 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 reopening plan. As such, indoor practices are allowed at reduced capacity. Golf tournaments can also be held with a maximum of 400 people allowed to attend.