Lehi's Lila Galea'i captures 4A girls golf individual state title with second under-par roun
As Lehi sophomore Lila Galea’i made her way around the East Bay golf course in Provo during Thursday’s final round of the 4A girls golf tournament, her entourage was lacking a key presence. Thanks to technology, however, her mom Mildred Galea’i didn’t have to miss out on the action as her daughter put together an excellent round. Lila Galea’i’s father, Raymond Galea’i made sure of that as he broadcast the round on his phone for those who couldn’t be there. “When my mom broke her ankle, I was bummed because I knew she wasn’t going to make it to state,” Lila Galea’i said. “She told me before I left to just do my best. I kind of played for her. Having my mom and my other uncles and aunts watching me, it was amazing to know that even though they couldn’t be here they put in the time and effort to watch me on my dad’s phone. It was a blessing and I’m grateful.” The Pioneer star put together another phenomenal round, tallying her first-ever 68 (4-under-par) on Thursday. That put her at 138 (6-under-par) for the tournament and resulted in her winning the individual state title by nine strokes. “It’s great to know that all the work and effort I put into this game finally paid off,” Lila Galea’i said. “Coming here at the place I grew up at, it couldn’t be any better. It’s a great time for me. I’m so happy.” Lehi head coach Tele Wightman said he couldn’t be more proud of how his sophomore did. “It was really impressive,” Wightman said. “Leading a tournament and then being able to close out a tournament can be really challenging. You could tell on the first tee that she was focused and ready. She executed out there and played really well.” Galea’i said she finished the day with four birdies and an eagle on Hole No. 13 to just two bogeys, and credited her practice after the first round on Wednesday for helping her play so consistently. “The biggest thing for me today was my short game,” Lila Galea’i said. “It took over. Knowing I didn’t three-putt any of the holes is a huge thing for me. There were minor mistakes but nothing too big, nothing I couldn’t recover from.” The Galea’i family has ties to some talented golfers, including PGA star Tony Finau who married Lila Galea’i’s cousin. She said her family loves the game. “Being Polynesian, there aren’t a lot of Polynesians who play golf,” Lila Galea’i said. “I have so many supporters, people who help out with anything I need. Those are the people who push me to become better every day.” Her score was part of a resurgence by the entire Lehi team. The Pioneers finished the final round 22 strokes better than they achieved in the first round, coming in sixth in Class 4A. “Today was our best score of the year,” Wightman said. “They were really excited to make the cut and also to just improve on their scores. Half the team went to the driving range last night because they wanted to get better and end the season on the right note. I’m really proud of them.” Lila Galea’i said she was extremely proud of how the Pioneers performed as a team. “I was happy to see that they didn’t give up from yesterday,” Lila Galea’i said. “It showed today that they had more effort and confidence. They went out there and did their thing. We are always talking about what we have done well and what we’ve done bad. But then we get out to practice and fix what we need to fix. I think that’s what they showed today. They wanted to do better and that’s exactly what they did.” Wightman has young talent and the future of Lehi girls golf is bright, although next year the Pioneers will be competing in Class 5A. “The girls who played at state last year improved this year,” Wightman said. “Our new girls did better today than they did yesterday. These girls are pretty driven, so they will have schedules this summer that will involve golf. We will be with tough competition but we are optimistic about things next year.” Ridgeline ended up winning the 4A team title, defeating Park City by 13 strokes.