UH-Hilo sophomore Andrew Otani played with the heavyweights Thursday at Waikoloa Kings’ Course, carding a 3-under 69 at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate.
The Vulcans are the only Division II team in a field that features defending NCAA golf champion Stanford and three of the top-four ranked teams in the country.
Making an eagle, two birdies and a bogey in his round, Otani was in a tie for 17th. Tyler Strafaci of Georgia Tech led after firing a sizzling 64, and Texas’ Cole Hammer and Aman Gupta of Oklahoma State were a stroke behind.
Texas and No. 2 Georgia Tech shared the team lead at 14-under, followed by Arizona State (13-under), Oklahoma State (-12), No. 4 Texas Tech (-10), Auburn (-9) and top-ranked Pepperdine (-7).
The Vulcans were in 19th of 20 teams. Evan Merrier was at 73, followed by Warren Miller and Nicholas Gomez, who each shot 77.
Hawaii was tied for 12th, with Waiakea alum Trevor Hirata shooting a 75.
The second of three rounds tees of at 7:30 a.m. Friday.