After UH-Hilo golfer Keith Ng won his first NCAA Division II tournament on Monday in his debut as a Vulcan on Oahu, the University of British Columbia transfer immediately turned into a student.
He and the rest of the Vulcans had to fly back to Hilo, and upon landing Ng had homework to do. For celebration, a phone call to his parents was at the top of his list, followed by a phone order of pizza or a takeout at Taco Bell.
Ng fired a 4-under-par 68 to capture the Hawaii Pacific Sharks Shootout at the Pearl Country Club by four strokes for the Vulcans, who placed second, one shot behind UH-Manoa, which finished with a 23-over 599 total.
“He’s a cool-headed player. Nothing fazes him. He’s very strong mentally,” UHH coach Earl Tamiya said. “He’s a good find. He’s going to help us a lot this year.
“Sunday was a bad dad for us. Everybody was down, but we tried and almost made it. We did good.”
Tamiya, who has led the program since 1991, isn’t sure if Ng is the first Vulcan to win his debut.
“I can’t remember anyone doing that, partially because I am so old,” he joked. “That is a pretty impressive way to start, no doubt about it.”
HPU was third at 25 over, HPU’s B squad was fourth at 43 over, Chaminade was fifth at 78 over, and Manoa’s B team did not finish.
HPU’s Keita Okada was second with a 73 for a 1-over 145 total. UHH’s Andrew Otani was third at 2-over 73-73—145; and Dustin Franko, Nick Gomez and Isaiah Kanno were tied for seventh at 8-over 152. UHH’s Noah Lai was tied for 17th at 11-over 79-76—155.
“It was pretty fun, a little unexpected,” said Ng, a psychology major. “I’m getting used to the culture and Hawaii. So far, I’m enjoying it. I just tried to limit my mistakes, and coach said to stick to one shot at a time. Psychology definitely helps me to analyze my rounds and deal with my emotions if I have a bad round, and keep me more calm and focused.”
Ng is enjoying the local style living in Hilo with the weather and food.
“It’s definitely a lot warmer here than Vancouver. I like it that I can walk around in shorts and T-shirt,” he said. “It’s nice weather. I like Taco Bell. We don’t have that much at home. I tried Spam musubi and poke for the first time here. Spicy tuna ahi is my go-to. I tried a loco moco, and coach made shaved ice. That was one of the first thing I tried.”
Wait. Isn’t British Columbia covered in snow? Don’t the people there have an unlimited supply of shaved ice?
“It’s too cold,” Ng said. “The snow turns into ice.”
Before he boarded his flight, Ng wanted to give a shout-out to his teammates and the coaches.
“I want to thank my teammates. I’ve been here three weeks, and they’re helping me get used to the grass, winds, and weather, same with the coaches,” Ng said. “Coach Earl, coach Sean (Maekawa), coach Kevin (Ginoza) have me playing more confident here. I won a tournament last year during the COVID season, but this is my first NCAA D-II win.”
Then his boarding call was announced, and Ng could reminisce on the plane ride back home and think of all the things he has to do.
“I’ll call my parents,” he said. “When I get home, I have a couple more assignments I have to do. It’ll be nice to unwind.”
The Vulcans next play at St. Martin’s Invitational Sept. 24-26.
Women finish third
The Vulcans finished 97-over-par and third in the four-team competition, 74 shots behind winner UH-Manoa. Hawaii Pacific was second at 81 over, UHH third at 97 over and HPU’s B team was last at 122 over.
UHH’s Tia Kualii shot a 21-over 84-81—165 total to place 10th, and Tori Hironaga was tied for 12th, 85-84—169; Kaelyn Uchida was tied for 15th, 87-84—171; and Kailey Oki was 17th, 89-87—176.
Rainbow Wahine Hana Mimik won medalist honors with a six-stroke victory and shot a 1-under 71-72—143 total, over teammate Mom Sugiyama, 73-76—149.
The Vulcans next play at Sonoma State Oct. 4-5.
UHH forward Filippa Graneld scored two goals and and had two assists last week to earn PacWest conference player of the week honors.
Grandeld had a hand in three of the Vulcans’ four goals in a 4-0 victory over HPU on Sunday, and also had the game-winner at San Francisco State with two minutes left in a 1-0 win.
The Vulcans will attempt their third win in a row Thursday at Chaminade.
Colt Brennan’s family has established the Colt Brennan Legacy Fun of the Hawaii Community Foundation to honor the former UH-Manoa quarterback and support community programs in Hawaii.
Brennan passed away in May 2021 in California with his family. He led UH to an undefeated season and Sugar Bowl big in 2007. He was drafted by Washington in 2008 and returned to Hawaii after his brief NFL career to volunteer as a coach for various youth football teams.
Donations can be made online at hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/colt-fund with a minimum gift of $25. Contributions of any amount may be mailed by check to Hawaii Community Foundatio at 827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI 96813. Checks must include Colt Brennan Legacy Fund in the memo.
A Colt Brennan tribute T-shirt is available for $30 online at hilifeclothing.com.
For more information, call 556-5560.
Editor’s note: This story has been modified to correct a misspelling in Keith Ng’s name.