HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - Two years removed from being one of the youngest players to ever tee it up at the LPGA's U.S. Open, Mariel Galdiano is ready to do it all over again.
Speaking with her during an afternoon practice session at the Navy Marine golf course in Salt Lake, the 15 year old looks back at her previous experience with the introspection of a veteran.
"It was hitting me just this year that I qualified when I was 12. I was like "wow" I was only in the 8th grade," says Galdiano.
Galdiano was 12 years old when she qualified for the 2011 Open and by the time she set foot on The Broadmoor GC in Colorado Springs, she had turned 13. By far, she was the youngest player at the event and the most coveted by both media and autograph hounds.
"I think it'll be a little easier for me since I'm more adjusted to it. The first time, there were just oceans of people watching me. I'm still probably going to be a little nervous, but not as much."
Impressing college scouts will be an underlying pressure for the Punahou standout, but -- as a teenage fan -- Galdiano hopes to leave with some star-struck memories. Like when she played 9-holes with Yani Tseng in 2011.
"It is still fun. I see golf more as traveling and playing. And meeting new people and having so much new experiences."
Fingers crossed, Galdiano's new experience will include making the weekend cut, something she was unable to accomplish her first time around.
Galdiano tees off round 1 at 6:41 am, Hawaii time. She won't be the only Hawaii born athlete to be playing. Punahou alum Michelle Wie tees off at 1:51 am (HST), while Kapolei resident Alexandra Kaui tees off at 7:42 am (HST).
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