Tokioka comes up just short

PRINCEVILLE — Aaron Kunitomo of Lahaina, Maui fired a three-under par 69 to clinch the No. 1 qualifying spot in the final round of the Boys U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier, Tuesday at the Princeville Makai Golf Course.

The score gave Kunitomo a 36-hole total of 142 (73-69, securing the win by two strokes, while Lorens Chan of Honolulu, tied for the lead following Monday’s opening round, shot a final-round 71 to finish at even-par 144 for the second qualifying berth.

While Kunitomo claimed the top-spot, Lihu‘e’s Pono Tokioka made it interesting with a late charge. Kunitomo, who started the day eight shots back after recording an 81 on Monday, blistered the course for a Tuesday best five-underpar 67, falling just four strokes back with a final tally of 148 — good for a fifth place tie. 

Alex Chiarella of Makawao, Maui finished the final round tied with Kunitomo at 69, finishing with a two-day total 145 (76-69) to claim the first alternate spot.

John Oda of Honolulu, finishing second in the 103rd Manoa Cup last week at the O‘ahu Country Club, was also tied for the lead with a 73 following Monday’s round.

But he finished the final round with a one-over par 73 for a two-day total of 146 to claim the second alternate position.

The qualifiers will be playing for the United States Golf Association Junio Championship which will be held at Gold Mountain Golf Course in Bremerton, Washington during the week of July 18 through 23.

But after being in a six-way tie for 17th place after the opening round 81, Tokioka’s 67 on Tuesday pushed the Kaua‘i High School golfer just short of the cut.

“They (Pono’s threesome) are having a really good round, today,” said Jimmy Tokioka, Pono’s dad, who was accompanying the final-round threesome. “Coming off the crossing, they’re three-under par. It’s a lot better than Monday.”

Pono’s threesome included Chiarella who finished as the first alternate and Zachary Braunthal of Honolulu who finished the second round with a four-over par 76, a two-stroke improvement from Monday’s 78, for a 36-hole total 154, tied with Yuuki Shino (81-73-154).

Reyn Morioka of Lihu‘e was one of the golfers tied for 17th place with Tokioka, Monday. He finished with a second round 83 to end at 164.

Other Kaua‘i golfers participating in the qualifier included Braeden Robley who had Mark Morioka helping with caddy duties and finishing with a 162 (86-76), tying with Jonah Fonacier of Mililani, O‘ahu (79-83-162).

Kenji Miyata, a golfer with the Kapa‘a High School program, finished with a two-day 166 (83-83), La‘akea Warren of Kekaha, getting the help of Paul Ito in caddying, ended with a 173 (86-87) and Keegan Loo finished with a 180 (91-89).

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