Yanagi, Yamauchi start slow before finishing strong


On the West Coast, Nani Yanagi found herself 4-over after only six holes.

In the Midwest, Dalen Yamauchi was staring into trouble after a double-bogey on the par-3 No. 7.

The Waiakea graduates each salvaged their rounds Monday at their respective U.S. Amateur Public Links championships, but they have their work cut out to advance.

At the women’s event in Dupont, Wash., Yanagi carded a 4-over 76 and was in a large group tied for 74th heading into the final round of stroke play. The top 64 golfers Tuesday will advance to match play.

Playing in her third publinx, Yanagi made three consecutive bogeys and was in danger of falling out of contention before she made the turn and picked up her play on the front nine of The Home Course.

“I just some missed swings,” she said. “Left myself in the bunker, flew a green, wasn’t able to make up-and-downs.

“I believe there were more birdie opportunities on the (front nine). What made it harder was my putting. I wasn’t able to drop a lot of putts.”

The exception came on the par-4 No. 7 when she sank a long putt from 20-25 feet away for her only birdie of the round.

“I finally got one,” Yanagi said.

A stroke behind a group of 13 golfers tied for 61st, Yanagi will tee off on No. 1 Tuesday morning.

“I’ll focus on making good shots and take whatever score comes,” she said.

A junior at Washington State, Yanagi said she didn’t have much of a home-course advantage. She practiced at The Home Course before coming back to Hilo for the summer, but Monday was her first competitive round there.

Cindy Ha (67) of Demarest, N.J., set the pace in the 156-player field.

Yamauchi was facing a taller task than Yanagi.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo senior carded a 5-over 76 and was tied for 88th at the men’s publinx in Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, Kan.

Yamauchi pocketed his only birdie on No. 8, and two bogeys on the back nine left him three shots in back of a group of 16 tied for 51st at 73.

A pair of other Big Islanders were even further back going into what will be the last round of stroke play in tournament history. Both publinx events will be retired after this year.

Hilo’s Clayton Amuro was tied for 125th at 8-over, and Brett Furutani, a 2002 Waiakea graduate, stumbled to an 89 and was 155th out of 156 golfers.

There were three golfers tied for the lead at 66.

 

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