For the University of Hawaii at Hilo women’s golf team, there’s no better place to play than on your home course.
That’s why Vulcans coach Jim DeMello believes his 13th-ranked squad will fare well in the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate, scheduled Monday and Tuesday at the Waikoloa Kings’ and Beach golf courses.
“We play our home course three or four times a month and the girls are comfortable playing there,” DeMello said. “We played there two Sundays ago and all the girls broke 80.
“I feel the team has a lot of confidence going into the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate and we hope to win it all.”
UHH’s final fall tournament features nine women’s teams and nine men’s teams. The women will play on the Waikoloa Beach course, the men on the Waikoloa Kings’ course.
“It’s a competitive tournament with a lot of quality teams, most of them from the West Region,” DeMello said. “In the girls field, we also have Nova Southeastern University, which finished runner-up nationally last year and previously won four straight national titles.
“Nova Southeastern University in ranked lower than us in the national top 25 right now, but they have a top quality program and will be tough.”
Rounding out the women’s field are Cal State Chico, Cal State East Bay, Hawaii Pacific University, Lubbock Christian University, St. Martin’s, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria. Three-time defending champion Grand Canyon University is not playing this year.
DeMello’s Vulcans recorded runner-up finishes in their two previous fall season tournaments — the St. Martin’s Invitational (Oct. 3-5) in Olympia, Wash., and the Western Washington Tournament (Oct. 6-8) in Bellingham, Wash. UHH junior Kristen Sawada, out of Mililani High School on Oahu, captured individual medalist honors at the St. Martin’s event, shooting a 6-over-par 150 with rounds of 74 and 76.
DeMello has went with the lineup of juniors Sawada and Erika Morihiro, seniors Kacie Harada and Dayna Bersamin, and sophomore Jade Salvador in the first two tournaments. Rounding out the roster are senior Nyssa Aoki, sophomore Shannon Abarra and freshman Mariah Paiste.
UHH is the two-time defending men’s champion and will be joined in the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate field by Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Chaminade University, Cal State East Bay, Cal State Stanislaus, Hawaii Pacific University, Notre Dame de Namur University, St. Martin’s University and Wilmington University.
The Vulcans, under coach Earl Tamiya, struggled last week in the Otter Invitational in Seaside, Calif., finishing 13th in the 15-team field. In their two previous fall tournaments, UHH placed 6th in the Golfweek Fall Invitational (Sept. 29-Oct. 1) in Bend, Ore. and fifth in the 42nd Viking Invitational (Sept. 22-24) in Bellingham, Wash.
UHH golfer Dale Yamauchi, out of Waiakea High School, has the best Vulcan finish this season, with third place in the Golfweek Invitational. The junior shot 78-82—150.
Tamiya has went with the lineup of seniors Kozuma, Chris Shimomura and Christian Agosto, Yamauchi, and sophomore Kyeton Littel.
The Vulcans played consistent golf in their first two fall tournaments before finishing 76 shots off the lead at the Otter Invitational.
“I’m still trying to put my finger on what happened to us last week,” Tamiya said. “We just messed up on the last nine holes and lost some focus. Coming into the Dennis Rose tournament, we have to have better course management and not try to gamble as much.”