UH-Hilo men’s golf team on fire on its home course

A long talk after a frustrating mainland roadtrip may have been the perfect medicine to turn around the University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s golf team’s season.

Last week, the Vulcans played poorly in the Otter Invitational in California, finishing 13th out of 15 teams and 76 strokes behind the champion.

But on Monday, the two-time defending champion Vulcans (280-283) torched their home Waikoloa Kings’ course for a two-round, 13-under-par 563 total and 15-shot lead over second place Cal State-Stanislaus in the Dennie Rose Intercollegiate.

The first day of the two-day, 36-hole event was played in excellent playing condition, under blue skies and with a slight breeze.

Cal State-Stanislaus (293-285) shot a 2-over 578 total while Wilmington University (290-296) was third at 586.

The collegiate tournament wraps up today with the nine men’s teams and nine women’s teams battling for team and individual honors in their respective divisions.

Senior Chris Shimomura carded a sizzling 67 in the first round to ignite UH-Hilo’s outstanding 18 holes in which four Vulcans shot par or better. Following Shimomura’s lead were defending Rose Intercollegiate individual champion Corey Kozuma (70), junior Dalen Yamauchi (71) and sophomore Kyeton Littel (72).

Shimomura, out of Lahainaluna High School on Maui, shot a 70 in the second round to finish with a tournament-leading 7-under 137 total for the Vulcans. Kozuma, the defending individual champion, had a 68 in the afternoon and was in second place at 138. Yamauchi had a 70 in the second round and was third at 141.

Yamauchi was tied with Wilmington’s Sam Clark at 141 while Cal State-East Bay’s Joel Keylor and Cal State- Stanislaus’ Trevor Clayton and Anthony Manguray were tied for fifth at 144.

UH-Hilo teammates Littel (72-75) and Christian Agosto (72-75) were tied for 10th place at 147.

Rounding out the men’s team scoring were: 4. Indianapolis, 591; 5. St. Martin’s, 593; 6. Cal State-East Bay, 599; 7. Chaminade, 611; 8. Notre Dame de Namur, 621; 9. Hawaii Pacific, 628.

In the women’s nine-team field, Chico State (300-314) carded a 614 total and held a six-stroke lead over second place UH-Hilo (309-311) at 620. Cal State-East Bay (316-308) was third at 624; St. Martin’s (316-314) fourth at 630; and Nova Southeastern University (304-331) fifth at 635.

Nova Southeastern’s Daniela Ortiz (70-74) was the individual leader with a 144 total. St. Martin’s Jennifer Liedes (74-72) was second with a 146 and Chico State’s Abbey McGrew (76-75) third with a 151.

Kristen Sawada (78-76) led the Vulcans with a 154 total and was tied for sixth overall. Also competing for UH-Hilo were Dayna Bersamin (T-10th, 76-79—155), Erika Morihiro (T-10th, 76-79—155), Jade Salvador (T-12th, 79-77—156) and Kacie Harada (T-24th, 86-79—165). Vulcan Nyssa Aoki (84-83) is playing as an individual and was at 167.

Rounding out the women’s scoring were: 6. University of Victoria, B.C., 647; 7. Lubbock Christian, 662; 8. Hawaii Pacific, 714; and 9. Simon Fraser, 730.

The women are playing the Waikoloa Beach golf course.

Defending women’s champion Grand Canyon is not playing in this year’s tournament.