The University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s golf team is back on top after Day 1 at the Pacific West Conference championships.
Kyeton Littel closed with a 2-under 70 to get within two shots of the lead Friday, and Corey Kozuma and Dalen Yamauchi each posted 71s as the Vulcans charged in front in Vallejo, Calif.
Seeking their first title since 2011, the Vulcans were 11 shots clear of Dixie State heading into today’s final round.
After a steady 300 in the opening round Friday left them in third place, Littel (74-70), Kozuma (75-71) and Yamauchi (77-71) each scratched strokes off their scorecards as UH-Hilo fired a 2-under to get to 10-over 586. Chris Shimomura turned in consecutive 74s and joined his teammates in the top 10 at Hiddenbrooke Golf Course.
“After playing the course and getting familiar with the conditions, we really started to grind,” Kozuma said.
In 2013, UH-Hilo carried an eight-shot lead into the final day before stumbling.
“We just need to focus on the task at hand and not worry about protecting a lead,” Kozuma said. “Our mindset is not that we’re ahead. We just need to keep trying and not take anything for granted.”
Dominican’s Drew Nelson finished with a 69 and was one shot ahead of Dixie State’s Kenny You and teammate Mark Milton at 2-under. Littel was in a tie for fourth at even-par, Kozuma was sixth at 2-over and Yamauchi and Shimomura were in a group six shots behind in a tie for eighth.
Yamauchi tied for medalist honors and lost in a playoff last year. Also for the Vulcans, Christian Agosto turned in a 157.
In the team race, Dominican was at 600 in third place, and host Academy of Art (602) and Hawaii Pacific (618) rounded out the top five.
Defending champion Grand Canyon is no longer in the PacWest.
MEN’S TENNIS OUSTED
Tom Greer-Smith won his match at No. 1 singles and teamed up for a doubles victory, but the Vulcans fell to Sonoma State 5-2 in a consolation match Friday at the PacWest championships in Surprise, Ariz.
On Thursday in the first round, UH-Hilo (1-17) fell 5-0 to Hawaii Pacific.
Friday’s consolation match
Sonoma State 5, UH-Hilo 2
Tom Greer-Smith, UH-Hilo, def. Matt Roberts, Sonoma St., 7-5, 6-3
Philip Holbrook, Sonoma, def. Kainoa Rosa, UH-Hilo, 6-1, 6-2
Daniel Holz, Sonoma, vs. Kallen Mizuguchi, UH-Hilo, 6-4, 0-2, unfinished
Robert Henry, Sonoma, def. Spenver Travalino, UH-Hilo, 6-1, 7-5
Logan Liddell, Sonoma, def. Nicolas Franco, UH-Hilo, 6-1, 6-1
Vincent Paganetti, Sonoma, vs. Daniel Tada, UH-Hilo, 6-4, 3-4, unfinished
Tom Greer-Smith/Kainoa Rosa, UH-Hilo def. Matt Roberts/Philip Holbrook, Sonoma, 8-2
Jimmy Manning/Seth Hein, Sonoma, def. Kallen Mizuguchi/Thomas Dols, UH-Hilo, 9-7
Logan Liddell/Robert Henry, Sonoma, def. Nicolas Franco/Spencer Travalino, UH-Hilo, 8-2
Thursday’s first round
HPU 5, UH-Hilo 0
Petr Michnev, HPU, vs. Kainea Rosa, UH-Hilo, 6-3, 2-0, unfinished
Jaume Martinez-Vich, HPU, def. Tom Greer-Smith, UH-Hilo, 6-0, 6-1
Thibaud Berland, HPU, vs. Kallen Mizuguchi, UH-Hilo, 6-1, 3-0, unfinished
Mattis Wetzel, HPU, vs. Spencer Travalino, UH-Hilo, 6-4, 2-0, unfinished
Adriano Locorotondo, HPU, vs. Nicolas Franco, UH-Hilo, 6-0, 4-0, unfinished
Clemens Graute, HPU, def. Daniel Tada, UH-Hilo, 6-0, 6-0
Petr Michnev/Thibaud Berland, HPU, def. Tom Greer-Smith/Kainoa Rosa, UH-Hilo, 8-4
Jaume Martinez-Vich/Mattis Wetzel, HPU, def. Kallen Mizuguchi/Thomas Dols, UH-Hilo, 8-4
Adriano Locorotondo/Yann Renault, HPU, def. Makoa Rosa/Michael Davis, UH-Hilo, 8-0