Kozuma helps red-hot Vuls run away with Rose crown
By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
The University of Hawaii at Hilo, led by individual medalist Corey Kozuma and his red-hot teammates, capped a remarkable two-day performance on Tuesday in winning the 7th Annual Dennis Rose Intercollegiate by 40 strokes over runnerup Simon Fraser at the Waikoloa Resort.
The Earl Tamiya-coached Vulcans carded a tourney low round of 286 in the final round and finished with a PGA Tour-like 2-under-par 862 total on the par 72 Kings’ Course. The host Vuls placed five of their golfers in the Top 8 in one of the most dominating men’s tournament victories over Tamiya’s long tenure at the helm.
It was a school record third straight tourney win for the UHH men to close the fall season. The Vulcans will start their spring season in early February with the Amer Ari Intercollegiate at Waikoloa Resort.
“The boys played really well,” Tamiya said. “I’m pleased with their effort and how hard they’ve been working together.
“Yesterday (Monday), I think the winds helped us. Today was perfect weather, no winds. But I didn’t expect us to win by so much. The team played really good golf through all three rounds.”
The Vulcans clipped together rounds of 288-288-286 for their 862 total. Simon Fraser (295-301-306) finished second at 38-over-par 902 and was followed in the nine-team field by Cal State University-East Bay (301-299-304—904, +40), St. Martin’s (317-301-291—909, +45), Hawaii Pacific University (304-303-307—914, +50), Montana State Billings (309-306-308—923, +59), Brigham Young University-Hawaii (311-309-314—934, +70), Chaminade (317-315-318—950, +86) and Notre Dame de Namur (316-321-330—967, +103).
Kozuma, a junior out of Iolani School on Oahu, fired a 70 on Tuesday to finish at 6-under-par 210 to earn his first collegiate win, one made extra special with his parents being able to watch his milestone victory on UHH’s home course. The champion had back-to-back 70s on the first day of the tournament and then showed why his game continues to improve against rock-solid competition.
“I’m very pleased with my performance and the performance of the team,” Kozuma said. “Yesterday (Monday), the conditions were tough but the guys hung in there and grinded it out. Today, everyone just fought hard all the way. I’m proud of all the guys.”
On a personal note, Kozuma said the individual medalist honors underscored what he and his teammates had been doing all fall.
“It means a lot to me personally, and having my parents there to watch was special,” he said. “Hopefully this is just a start for me and the team for better things to come. We’re really looking forward to the spring and seeing what we can do. Everyone has worked really hard and it’s showing with how we’ve been playing.”
“I happy for Corey,” Tamiya said. “For the first time in his career, he shot under par all three rounds. It’s also his first career win and this may be a break-through tournament for him.”
UHH freshman Kyeton Littel (73-72-72) followed Kozuma with a 1-over-par 217 to place second. Sophomore teammate Dalen Yamauchi, a former Waiakea High standout, carded rounds of 73-71-75 and tied for third with a 3-over-par 219. Chris Shimomura, a junior from Maui, had rounds of 75-75-70 for a 220 total, tying for fifth; and sophomore Jamie Hall (72-76-74) had a 222 total and tied for eighth.
The Vulcan men earlier captured titles at the Sonoma State Invitational and the GolfWeek Division II Fall Invitational in Sunriver, Ore.
Hall, a sophomore from Seattle, Wash., was the individual champion at the Sonoma State event, claiming the title in a two-hole playoff.
Grand Canyon shines
Grand Canyon, led by individual medalist Charlotte Jaengkit, claimed the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate women’s tournament title.
The Antelopes (309-299-307) had a 915 total. CSU-East Bay (315-203-321) finished second with a 938 total and UHH (325-307-315) took third with a 947 score.
Rounding out the field were St. Martin’s at 1016, St. Mary’s Texas at 1019 and Hawaii Pacific University at 1135.
Jaengkit (70-74-75) shot a 9-over-par 219 to win by nine strokes over teammate Kelcey Tate (74-78-76—228) and 10 over CSU-East Bay’s Andrea Castellanos (79-77-73—229). CSU-East Bay’s Linda Brown (79-73-80) and Grand Canyon’s Emily Kaye (82-73-77) tied for fourth with 232s.
UHH’s Nyssa Aoki (84-75-77), CSU-East Bay’s Melissa Hosman (79-75-82) and Grand Canyon’s Eryn Olson (83-74-79) tied for sixth with 236s.
Rounding out Vulcan scoring were: Shannon Abarra (78-78-81—237, T-9th), Kacie Harada (81-77-81—239, 11th), Erika Morihiro (82-77-82—241, T-12th), and Jade Salvador (81-87-83—251, 18th).
Jim DeMello is the UHH women’s head coach. The Vulcans open their spring season in mid-February with the Lady Rattler Roundup in San Antonio, Texas.
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