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February 20, 2014 - 12:05am

University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s golf coach Earl Tamiya just wants to avoid the cellar, and so far he has his wish at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate.

The Vulcans were 16th out of 17 teams after the first round Wednesday at Wailua Golf Course on Kauai, one shot ahead of Hawaii.

UH-Hilo’s Kyeton Littel and Dalen Yamauchi were tied for 40th at 2-over 74. Arizona’s Erik Oja carded a 64 and held a three-shot advantage.

California set the pace in the team race with a 10-under 278. UH-Hilo was 20 strokes back in a Division I tournament that it’s using as a tuneup for the rest of its Division II season.

“We did OK,” Tamiya said. “We want to get better and make progress, and I saw that today.”

Corey Kozuma drew five penalty shots in his round and wound up at 3-over, as did Chris Shimomura. Christian Agosto was at 7-over. Nick Matsushima didn’t count toward UH-Hilo’s score and carded a 77.

Arizona (285), Texas A&M (286), BYU (287) and New Mexico (288) rounded out the top five. Tournament host Hawaii has two teams in the field. The “B” team was at 297, while the “A” team was in at 299.

Senior Nainoa Calip, a Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate, finished at 1-over for the “A” team.

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