Maiya Tanaka began playing golf at the young age of 11. It all started when Maiya's father stumbled upon a local First Tee program where he enrolled Maiya along with her siblings. Maiya shot a hole in one on her first hole of her very first golf tournament and was hooked! Soon after she was participating in a non-profit organization called Pro Kids Golf Academy. It was there that she learned the fundamentals of golf and sharped her short game on the par 3 golf course. Maiya went on to compete and successfully win in local tournaments, qualifying for the U.S.G.A. Girls Junior Championship of the Year (2000) as the youngest competitor on the West Coast to qualify. As she continued to display her ability and poise on the course, Pro Kids Golf Academy named her Sports Person of the Year in 2000. She was fortunate enough to travel to Taiwan in 2001 and 2002 for the Trans-Pacific Cup, and the Junior America's Cup team for multiple years as well.
Maiya attended Mira Mesa High School in San Diego where she played for the school’s male golf team. Despite being the only girl on the team, she was the number one player and helped qualify the team for the boys CIF Championship that year. Unfortunately, she was unable to participate due to her gender. It was this that inspired Maiya and her coach to create Mira Mesa’s first female golf team. The following year Maiya was back in action leading the girls’ team to CIF Championship.
Following high school, Maiya attended UCLA where she joined the women’s golf team in her junior year. She quickly recovered her game after three years off, playing in 6 tournaments, 19 rounds, and posting counting scores towards the team’s number. In 2006-07 Maiya placed 20th at the Pac 10 Championships and qualified to play in NCAA Regionals and Nationals, posting an even par first round at regionals and ending up tied for 65th in the nation at nationals.
Maiya was also selected to represent UCLA for the All-Star team that traveled to China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea in 2008. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in Sociology and Human Complex Systems and was voted Most Improved Player by the UCLA women’s golf team.
In 2013 Maiya enrolled in the LPGA qualifying school where she began at the first stage located in Palm Springs, CA and competed well enough to advance. Maiya gained momentum at the second stage located in Florida by shooting eight under par. By the final stage at the LPGA course in Daytona Beach, FL she was awarded full status on the Symetra tour.
When she’s not on the golf course or driving range, you can find Maiya on the hiking trails, painting and drawing, or spending time with her family. Maiya is looking forward to the future and hopes to someday contribute to the same youth programs that ignited her passion for golf.