By BILL O’REAR
Tribune-Herald sports editor
NCAA Division I powerhouse Oklahoma State fired a 45-under-par 819 to run away with The Amer Ari Invitational golf championship on Saturday at the Waikoloa Kings’ Course.
The Cowboys led the three-day tournament from start to finish, including rounds of 271, 277, 271, to beat runner-up Washington (831) by 12 strokes.
Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge captured individual medalist honors with a 16-under-par 200. He had rounds of 67, 68 and 65 to edge Southern Californa’s Jeffrey Kang (66-67-68—201) by a shot and Stanford’s Cameron Wilson (67-65-70—202) by two strokes.
Oregon, TCU and Southern California tied for third place with 835 team totals.
The tournament included some of the top D-I and II teams in the country and is hosted by D-II University of Hawaii at Hilo.
UH-Hilo finished 15th in the 20-team field and beat three D-I schools — Hawaii, San Jose Sate and UC Davis, plus Osaka Gakuin University of Japan and D-II West Region powerhouse Cal State Monterey Bay.
The Vulcans shot 279-286-292 for a 7-under 857 score. Hawaii was 16th with a even par 279-291-294—864 total. CSMB carded a 295-287-289—871.
“Coach (Earl) Tamiya is really happy with our team performance,” UHH golfer Corey Kozuma said. “Our first day was unbelievable when we shot one-under par as a team.
“That’s the first time since I’ve been here that all five of our players shot under par — and my 71 didn’t even count.”
The Vulcans were tied for eighth place after the first round.
Kyeton Littel (70-66-76) led UHH with a 4-under 212 and tied for 42nd in the strong field. Kozuma (71-71-71) was a shot behind at 213, and tied for 49th. Rounding out team scoring were Chris Shimomura (T-64th, 69-77-70—216), Dalen Yamauchi (T-74th, 70-72-75—217) and Christian Agosto (T-98th, 70-77-76—223).
Three other Vulcans competed as individuals in the highly competitive event. They were Nick Matshushima (T-111th, 80-72-74—226), Takashi Murayama (117th, 73-81-85—239) and Casey Tamura (T-118th, 86-87-80—253).
“I think our team gained a lot of confidence with this tournament,” Kozuma said. “Coach had started us on a new practice plan after Christmas, and I think it worked out well. Everybody contributed in this tournament and it should help us the rest of the season. We beat Monterey Bay and that should help us in the West Region rankings.”
Skye Inakoshi (71-71-72) was the University of Hawaii’s top finisher with a 2-under 214, tying for 53rd place.