Saki Uechi Named Assistant Women's Golf Coach
MALIBU, Calif. - Saki Uechi, a member of UCLA's 2004 NCAA championship team and a three-year veteran of the Duramed Futures Tour, has been named the assistant coach of the Pepperdine women's golf team, head coach Laurie Gibbs announced today.
"We are pleased to have Saki join our program," said Gibbs, who is heading into her 17th season as Pepperdine's head coach and has led the Waves to eight top 10 national finishes. "Her experience as a player and in golf course management will be a great asset."
Uechi also serves as the Event and Marketing Coordinator at the Malibu Country Club. She replaces Kelli Kamimura, who completed her MBA at Pepperdine's Graziadio Business School and was recently hired as the new women's golf coach at Washington State.
"I'm really excited to be part of the team," Uechi said. "I know it will be a young team, but I like the challenge and I think it's going to be a fun year. Kelli told me about her experience with the team, and it sounded like a great opportunity. The best years of my life were playing in college and so hopefully this is a chance to sort of relive that, and to try to help the girls on the team to also experience that. I'm excited about working with Laurie and it will be a good learning experience."
Uechi played on the Duramed Futures Tour from 2004-06 and took part in 31 tournaments. She had three top 20 finishes, with a best result of 15th place at the 2005 IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas. Her last professional golf event came at the 2006 Japan LPGA Qualifying School in Shiga Ken, Japan.
She was a member of the UCLA women's golf team for five seasons (2000-04). As a redshirt freshman, she was the Bruins' top finisher at the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Championships, taking eighth overall. That led to All-Pac-10 honorable mention notice and UCLA's Most Improved Player award. In her four seasons, she competed in 22 tournaments and 62 rounds, compiling three top finishes and seven top 20 results. Her best finish was second place at the 2004 Matador Spring Invitational. In 2002, she was a member of the Pac-10 All-Star Team that traveled to Asia for a series of competitions.
As an amateur, she was the runner-up at the 2001 California Women's Amateur behind Natalie Gulbis, and also competed in the first round of the 2001 U.S. Women's Amateur. She finished in the top 20 at the 1999 Junior World Championship, had two top 10 finishes on the AJGA circuit and made a hole-in-one at the Industry Hills Golf Course.
Uechi, whose hometown was Redondo Beach, Calif., attended Granada Hills High School. She won the L.A. City Championship in 1998 and 1999, earned All-City honors all four years and made the Los Angeles Times All-Area honorable mention team. Two of those years were spent playing on the boys' team at Granada Hills.
She and her husband, Taka Hamano, reside in Sherman Oaks. She graduated from UCLA in 2004 with degrees in sociology and Japanese.
Pepperdine begins the 2009-10 season at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Primm, Nev., from Sept. 13-15.