Isaiah Kanno had the round of his life for the Hawaii golf team at the Amer Ari Invitational at his familiar home course at Hapuna.
The 2020 Waiakea graduate fired a 5-under par 67 to tie for third and sit four strokes back of leader Blake Wagoner, of Arizona State, who carded an incredible 9-under 63 for a course record.
“I was playing solid, and I kept that positive momentum throughout the round,” he said. “I was getting lucky today, and a lot of my putts were going in.
“I played there a decent amount of times so I knew the course pretty well. It wasn’t very windy surprisingly. Maybe around 5 to 10 mph breezes.”
Washington’s Noah Woolsey shot a 66 for second while Georgia Tech’s Connor Howe, and ASU’s David Puig and Cameron Sisk each recorded 67s to tie for third.
UHH’s Dustin Franco shot a 2-over 74 and is 11 shots back. He’s followed by teammates Nick Gomez, 75; Andrew Otani, 78; Noah Lau, 79; Ethan Hironaga, 80; Willis Lee, 90.
Georgia Tech holds the team lead with a 274 total, followed by ASU, 275; USC, 280; Washington, 285; San Jose State, 287; Oregon State, 289; Hawaii, 302; and UHH, 306.
It’s the toughest competition Kanno has faced, especially playing in a field that includes Wagoner, a likely future pro.
The graduate student from North Carolina had a 72.27 stroke average last season and a 71.11 average in the 2019 season. That’s what future pros shoot in college.
Tiger Woods, who played at Stanford, had a 70.96 average.
“It was very competitive, and a lot of people shot good as well,” Kanno said.
Of course, Kanno didn’t place third by accident. He’s got talent and a resume as hard evidence.
As a freshman, he won the BIIF title, and in March of last year, he took the Hawaii State Golf Association Stroke Play championship.
A tough start was a small speed bump to jump over for Kanno, who had his dad Kirby as fan support.
“The first hole I lost my ball, and I ended up with a double bogey,” he said. “The birdie I made on hole 7 started that positive momentum I had going forward.
“My dad was following me, and it was good to see him because I have a limited amount of times I can see him during college.”
The key is to string together solid rounds, something Kanno has done in the past.
“My plan is to keep the ball in play and to play against par,” he said.
Second-round action continues on Wednesday with the final round on Thursday.