By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
Longtime University of Hawaii at Hilo men’s golf coach Earl Tamiya knows you have to be both good and lucky to win championships.
And with that said, he believes his young team will need to be both when the Vulcans host the 7th Annual Dennis Rose Intercollegiate Tournament on Monday and Tuesday at the Waikoloa Beach Resorts’ Beach and Kings’ Course.
In the nine-team men’s tournament, the Vulcans are the defending champions and riding an impressive two tournament win streak, including rallying from 10 shots back on the final day to claim the Sonoma State Invitational last week in California. Sophomore Jamie Hall pocketed the individual crown as he and his teammates scorched the Santa Rosa Country Club course for a tourney-low 278 to win the team title.
“We feel confident going into the Dennis Rose Intercollegiate,” Tamiya said. “But we know we’ll need to focus. The team kind of surprised me last week, coming from 10 shots down to win. But the potential was there and to see them play that way was very satisfying. I’m proud of them.
“Now, we’ve got to keep our legs on the ground and our heads together. We want to win. We’re not going to be satisfied with finishing second or third.”
Hall, from Seattle, won his third career title with the strong performance at the Sonoma State Invitational. He shot 71-69-70 for a 6-under-par 210 total, then edged two opponents in a three-man playoff for the tourney title.
But Hall wasn’t the only Vulcan to play well in the final round. Teammate Corey Kozuma had a sizzling 5-under 67 and tied for fifth place at 212.
UHH’s Kyten Littel had a 70, Chris Shimomura, a 71; and sophomore Dalen Yamauchi a 74 to round out team scoring. Vulcan Christian Agosto played as an individual and carded a 74.
Tamiya said Cal State East Bay could challenge UHH for the men’s title at Waikoloa.
“They’re a very good team and did well under tough conditions in the recent Monterrey Bay tournament,” the Vulcans coach said.
Besides UHH and Cal State East Bay, the other men’s teams in the Dennis Rose field include Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Chaminade University, Simon Fraser University, Hawaii Pacific University, St. Martin’s University, Notre Dame de Namur University and Montana State University-Billings.
“There are some good teams in the tournament,” Tamiya said. “We’re going to have to be good and lucky to win. But I’m happy with how our guys have been playing. We have good team chemistry and everybody is working together to get better.
“Going into this tournament, we can’t be thinking about what we did last week. We’ve got to focus and try to play our best golf. If we can do that, we should be in pretty good shape.”
Despite winning two straight tournaments on the mainland, the Vulcans dropped from 8th to 17th in the recent NCAA Division II national golf poll.
“I’m not sure why we dropped after winning, but maybe we’ll be a little higher this week when the rankings come out Wednesday,” the UHH coach said. “Still, the rankings don’t matter much on the golf course, it’s more how you play.”
In the women’s field at Waikoloa, the Lady Vulcans are joined by Cal State East Bay, Grand Canyon University, HPU, St. Martin’s and St. Mary’s University (Texas).
UHH, under coach Jim DeMello, is ranked No. 13 in the current NCAA D-II women’s poll. The Vulcans recently captured the Western Washington Invitational, winning by six strokes over British Columbia.
The Vuls carded a tournament low 299 in the final round to finish with a 608 total.
UHH’s Kacie Harada (73-76—149) placed second, two shots behind individual medalist Casara Hong of British Columbia.
Also competing for the Vulcans were Erika Morihiro (77-75) and Nyssa Aoki (78-74) who tied for fifth place at 152; Kristen Sawada (81-74), tied for 15th at 155; and Shannon Abarra (83-84), tied for 43rd at 167.