College golf: Vulcans burn field for PacWest title

The University of Hawaii at Hilo fired a blistering 301 on Saturday to run away with the Pacific West Conference men’s golf championship.

The NCAA Division II tournament was played in Vallejo, Calif.

The Vulcans, under longtime coach Earl Tamiya, finished with a three-round total of 23-over par 887, winning by 20 strokes over runner-up Dixie State (907). UH-Hilo carded a 300 in the first round and a 286 in the second round to take an 11-shot lead into the final round.

“The boys played really well,” Tamiya said. “The conditions were tough today, windy and cold. But they were determined to win today, and they concentrated on what they needed to do.

“I’m really proud of them. Last year, we had the lead after two rounds and let it slip away. This year, we didn’t want that to happen. They focused today and built the lead from 11 to 20 strokes, and they earned the automatic berth to the regionals.”

Four Vulcans finished in the top 10 individually — Dalen Yamauchi (77-71-71), 3rd at 3-over 219; Kyeton Littel (74-70-77), 5th at 221; Chris Shimomura (74-74-74), 6th at 222; and Corey Kozuma (75-71-79), tied for 9th at 225. Teammate Christian Agosto (77-80-82) tied for 27th at 239.

Dixie State’s Kenny You and Dominican’s Mark Milton tied for individual medalist honors with a 2-over par 281 total. Both carded rounds of 68-75-75 at the Hiddenbrooke Golf Course.

“Dalen played well and made a run at the individual title,” Tamiya said. “Last year, he tied for first and then lost in the playoff. This year, he finished third, a shot behind. So that means next year, he’s going to win it.”

Yamauchi started Saturday six shots behind the leaders, but he put together a strong final round and closed to within a stroke of You and Milton.

“I started kind of slow, but at one point I was four under through five and playing good in windy conditions,” Yamauchi said. “Earl told me I might have a chance. But I was just trying to play and see what happens. I’m happy with how I finished and it feels good for the team to win it. The team played well and this will definitely help our confidence going to the regionals.”

Rounding out team scoring were Dominican University (911), host Academy of Art (926), Cal Baptist (932), BYU-Hawaii (940), Chaminade (941), Hawaii Pacific (953), Notre Dame de Namur (964) and Holy Names (965).

The regionals will be played May 5 to 7 in Austin, Texas.

Following the conference tournament, the All-PacWest Teams and awards were announced. They follow:

Team champion: UH-Hilo

PacWest Player of Year: Kenny You (Dixie State)

PacWest Freshman of Year: Drew Nelson (Dominican)

PacWest Coach of the Year: Brad Sutterfield (Dixie State)

All-PacWest First Team: Mark Milton (Dominican), Kenny You (Dixie State), Dalen Yamauchi (UH-Hilo), Hayden Christensen (Dixie State), Kyeton Littel (UH-Hilo), Chris Shimomura (UH-Hilo), Drew Nelson (Dominican)

All-PacWest Second Team: Alberto Esponda (Academy of Art), Corey Kozuma (UH-Hilo), Tai Kuida (California Baptist), Tommaso Vielmo (Academy of Art), James Fawssett (Hawaii Pacific), Alex Bellville (Notre Dame de Namur), Mike Klem (BYU-Hawaii)