Lahainaluna golfer hits two aces in four days
LAHAINA — Well, 16-year-old Kaanapali resident Tyler Armijo does have the same smile as the leprechaun on the box of Lucky Charms cereal. But then again, the youngster also lives and breathes — literally and figuratively — the game of golf at his home situated in the middle of the Kaanapali South Course.
Whatever the explanation, the Lahainaluna High School junior-to-be recorded two holes in one in a span of four days from July 20-23.
Young Armijo’s first ace came on Wednesday at the Kapalua Plantation Course, as he used a five iron to hole the par-three, 185-yard No. 8. The feat was witnessed by his Luna golf team partner, Noah Klipstein.
Then on Saturday, Tyler, who has been playing golf for just under two years, nailed the 174-yard, par-three 12th hole using a seven iron at the Kapalua Bay Course. This remarkable shot was witnessed by visitor Alex Mikalacki.
“I just have a lot of fun playing golf,” said Armijo, who helped the Lahainaluna golf team capture the school’s first Maui Interscholastic League championship this year.
“We play almost every day, and I get out and hit balls on the course after hours. I get a lot of support from my parents (Jane and Richard Armijo) in the game, and my dad has been playing for 30 years.”
Success stories like Tyler’s are clearly the result of the burgeoning junior golf programs initiated by first the Kapalua Resort and, more recently, Kaanapali Resort and the Lahaina Junior Golf organization.
With the influence and guidance offered by these world-class resorts, it is no surprise to see the rise of both the girls and boys golf teams at Lahainaluna, along with the achievement of the Lahaina Junior Golf program.
Within the Kapalua and Kaanapali programs, Maui youth play the courses at these resorts on a regular basis and are mentored by the professionals there.
At Kapalua, Director of Golf Mike Jones and Head Professional Ben Hongo have been instrumental in the rise of junior golf here on the West Side, while Kaanapali Director Sutee Nitakorn — who is also the Lunas’ coach — and professional Dave Havens, as well as Lahaina Junior Golf Commissioner Don Rosenthal, have nurtured the successes of the youth movement on the links in West Maui.
Tyler is a shining example of the results that so many kids benefit from due to the contributions of these West Side mentors.
Along with his fraternal twin, Sabrina, Tyler has risen up in the game.
He doesn’t hesitate to pay homage to those who have laid the groundwork for his success.
“I am very thankful to my parents,” he said. “And also to Coach Sutee for coaching us up, and to Dave Havens, my swing coach, for all he does to make me a better player.”
Tyler also surfs, enjoys the beach and has his sights set on attending Arizona State University to study business and, hopefully, play on the golf team.
He sports a 3.5 grade point average at Lahainaluna and, with a big smile, looks forward to the next MIL season to defend the historic title the team won last season.
Hey Bruddah — lucky we live Lahaina, eh?