WAPL Champion Memories: Mina Harigae (2007)

Mina Harigae's 2007 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links triumph came in her 13th appearance in a USGA championship. (USGA/Robert Walker)
By Lisa D. Mickey
July 10, 2014

Mina Harigae, 17, of Monterey, Calif., won the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship with a 4-and-3 victory over Stephany Fleet, 20, of Dewitt, Mich., at Kearney Hill Golf Links, in Lexington, Ky. Harigae’s first national championship came in her 13th appearances in a USGA championship. A past stroke-play medalist at the 2006 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Harigae parlayed her WAPL victory into a spot on the victorious 2008 USA Curtis Cup Team. Harigae, who spent one semester at Duke University before turning professional in 2009, won her first California Women’s Amateur at the age of 12. Harigae won three times on the LPGA’s developmental Futures Tour in 2009 and in 2010 qualified for the LPGA Tour, where she is currently a member.

What did winning the WAPL mean to you?

It meant so much to me. I played in a lot of the USGA events and I just felt like I wanted to win at least one before I turned pro. When I finally did, it was a huge weight off my shoulders.

What is your most vivid memory from that championship week?

My quarterfinal match against Stephanie Kono. I was down in the match for most of the way. I think I won holes 17 and 18 to get back to all square, so we went to the 19th hole. I won the 19th hole. I knew if I pulled out of this match with a win, I thought I could go all the way.

You and Stephanie Kono share a Japanese-American heritage. Had you known each other for a long time and had you been friends before that match?

Yeah, I met her at the Junior World Championships when I was around 12, so we’ve known each other for a while.

Do you still stay in touch with anyone you met at the WAPL?

Not really, but every time I see one of the USGA Rules officials I’ve gotten to know over the years – usually at the U.S. Women’s Open – I get very excited because I don’t get to see them anymore. It’s nice to catch up with them.

Your WAPL win came in Kentucky. Did you get to see any horses or do anything fun while you were there?

There was a party at one of the stables and they put on a great show. We got to see a ton of horses and they were just beautiful. I remember we had such a good time. I’ve always liked horses. And I remember the golf course. It was a tough course, but it was in great shape. I putted really well that week and I guess that was the key to winning.

Where does the WAPL title fit into your golf career?

I think in my amateur career, the WAPL was my biggest win. I played well in USGA events – I was a quarterfinalist and I was a medalist – and I was always close. When I finally broke through [with a win], that’s when I felt I was ready to move on to the next level. I was happy to move on to the next level because I had finally won a USGA championship. It was a great steppingstone for me.

So is your goal now to get into the U.S. Women’s Open every year?

Yep, and so far I have. That’s the one USGA title I could win now as a professional, so that’s my goal.

How do you feel about this WAPL championship being retired after this year?

I’m kind of sad to see it go because it was the championship that I won. It was a great tournament. I think the field was just as good as the U.S. Women’s Amateur. I hope they will bring it back.

Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.

APL-WAPL Memories Home


Get The Rules of Golf App For Your iPhone Or Android Today
Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment

AmEx image