Winter 2019

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Her parents, who moved to the U.S. two years after their daughter, were members at Green Valley Country Club in Fairfield. Her mother, Junko, was herself the 1999 club champion. Not even they could convince her to take up the game with any regularity. A move into a home only a few minutes from Green Valley finally sparked her interest in 2004, and she decided to join the club. Her first established handicap was a 26, but just four years later she won her first club championship. She approaches golf with the level of commitment you'd expect from a fierce competitor. She even reno- vated her living room to make space for a full size practice putting green that she uses for at least 30 minutes before bed. "There are golf gadgets in pretty much every room of my house," she says. "I'm always practicing." NCGA.ORG | WINTER 2019 47 Moridaira works for a Japanese company that crafts customized acoustic guitars and imports and exports other musical instruments. Musically inclined herself, she plays a number of instruments – except guitar. "I took a few guitar lessons, but it hurts my fingers and that was affecting my golf game," she says. "So I stopped playing guitars, I just sell them. Golf over guitars." Moridaira faced off against defending champion Tina Barker in the match play final for the 2018 club championship. The two are close friends and Moridaira even credits Barker with much of her develop- ment as a player. "She's the one who taught me how to practice the short game," she says. "She always calls or texts me to say 'Hey, let's meet on the practice green for an hour.' " She knew her friend would be a tough foe, and heading into the 13th hole of the final match she found herself 2 down. However, she rallied to win three of the next four holes behind a scrappy short game and some clutch putting to claim a 1-up lead heading to the 18th hole. She secured the championship for the third time with a par. "I feel like it was a little lucky for me to win," Moridaira says. "Tina is such a strong competitor, but I worked very hard and practiced all year so I could compete with her, and I'm glad to be the champion." ions

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