Golf: UHH’s Otani stays strong with 71 at Waikoloa

  • SHELLY BLUNCK photo While Andrew Otani again carried the day for UH-Hilo, junior transfer was steady as well, carding an even-par 72.

Georgia Tech made its move while UH-Hilo’s Andrew Otani hung tough at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate.

Otani carded a 1-under 71 on Friday at Waikoloa Kings’ Course as he continued to represent the only Division II school in the stacked field well.

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The sophomore was at 4-under after two rounds in a tie for 22th heading into the final round.

Georgia Tech’s Tyler Strafaci maintained his lead in the medalist hunt, shooting a 67 to get to 13-under. Oklahoma State’s Aman Gupta was 11-under, and in a three-way tie for third were U.S. Amateur Champion Andy Ogletree of Georgia Tech, Pepperdine’s Sahith Theegala and Texas Tech’s Ludvig Aberg. Ogletree and Texas’ Pierceson Coody each had a 66 for the low round of the day.

The Yellow Jackets (33-under 543), ranked second in the nation, opened a five-shot lead as they chase their first Amer Ari title since 2006. Texas was second at 28-under. Two-time defending champion Oklahoma State was 15 strokes back in sixth.

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The Vulcans were in last in the 20-team field at 596, despite getting a 72 from Dustin Franko, a Canadian who was playing in his first tournament for UHH. Franko was 7-over, one shot in front of Nicholas Gomez (75) and Warren Miller carded a 76 and was 9-over.

Hawaii was 17th, and Waiakea alum Trevor Hirata (77) was 8-over.

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