Rinko Mitsunaga, who recently completed her collegiate golf career at Georgia, won the Georgia Women’s Amateur Championship on Friday at the Atlanta Athletic Club. She finished the 54-hole event at 4-over 220, two shots ahead of runner up Christyn Carr, and did so with Josh Brewer, her former Georgia coach, serving as her caddy.
“I knew this was a course where people weren’t going to shoot 6- or 7-under,” Mitsunaga said. “I had a good game plan and stuck to it. That made me confident throughout the week. I was a little nervous so I asked Josh to be my caddy. He’s caddied for me a couple of times so I knew I would be comfortable. He helped me out so much today, keeping my head cool and carefree and undistracted. I knew my game was in good shape and I put in all the work, but I haven’t been in this position since back in my freshman year at UGA.”
Mitsunaga was tied for sixth following an opening round 75 but surged into a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with a 2-under 70 on Thursday. She was paired with co-leaders Ainsley Cowart and Ava Merrill for the final round.
“I knew all day that those were the girls that I was truly competing against,” Mitsunaga said.
Mitsunaga played the first nine holes at even-par but trailed Merrill by a stroke. Mitsuanga birdied No. 10 while Merrill bogeyed and the two-shot swing gave the former Bulldog the lead for good. She said having Brewer along side made the victory much more memorable.
“He’s been there watching me for seven years since he started recruiting me,” Mitsunaga said. “He knows my game as well as anyone. I really struggled my senior year, and Josh was always there helping me get through it. I knew when I was in a position to win that I wanted him on the bag. I felt like I owed it to him to have him walk with me and enjoy the moment together. I knew his summer after his senior year, he won his state am so I think it’s cool to repeat that history.”
Brewer won the Indiana State Amateur in 1998 after leading the Indiana Hoosiers to the Big Ten Championship earlier that spring.
Mitsunaga is the second-straight Bulldog to win the Georgia Women’s Am. A year ago, Bailey Tardy captured the title.
“I knew Bailey won last year, and I thought it would be really cool to have Georgia girls win back to back,” Mitsuanga said. “I was nervous so all I tried to do was golf and today it worked out.”