PRINCEVILLE — Wet conditions didn’t stop the players during the third annual Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational that began Monday morning at the Makai Golf Club, hosted by the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“We started out a little shaky weather-wise. A little wet,” said UH men’s golf head coach Ronn Miyashiro. “The course has been the same pretty much every day. It’s been wet in the morning, and then drying out.”
The Hawaii men’s team collectively finished the first round 4-over-par and is currently 11th.
“As far as team-wise, we are struggling. Been trying to put together four good scores in a round to get a good team score. It’s pretty much been like that all semester. We haven’t been able to put together three rounds to make a (good) tournament score,” Miyashiro said. “The potential is there. We’re hoping every one settles down.
“Every round we play, we always got one or two guys that are playing well. It’s just a matter of getting them to be consistent about it … If you want to be successful at this level, you got to be consistent,” the UH coach added. “We are fairly young and inexperienced as far as tournament play. It’s just a matter of getting in situations, seeing how they respond and allow them to make their own adjustments.”
Despite having never played the course previously, Georgia Tech’s team scored 16-under-par and took the top spot on the team leaderboard. GT is the No. 2 ranked men’s golf team, according to the NCAA.
“It’s OK. You can’t win it on the first day,” said Georgia Tech senior Ollie Schniederjans. “We’re not out of it. It’s just the first round. We’re in good shape, but there’s still 36 holes left.”
Schniederjans is the No. 3 ranked college men’s golfer, according to Golfstat. He finished the day 6-under-par and tied for third place with three other golfers on the individual leaderboard.
“It’s just really wet because of the rain, but it’s a beautiful place — very, very scenic,” Schniederjans said about the course. “There’s some fun shots out there for sure. A couple tough holes, but lots of birdie holes.”
Hawaii’s best golfer of the day was sophomore, and Kauai High School alumnus, Justin “Pono” Tokioka. He finished 3-under-par and is tied with three others at 16th on the individual leaderboard.
“My putting and short game was really good, but I’m struggling with my driver. Got to work on that,” Tokioka said. “I made a lot of recovery shots that saved the day for me.”
Pepperdine University junior Fred Wedel finished the day 8-under-par and sits atop the individual leaderboard. This year’s event is the third time he’s played at the invitational.
“I didn’t hit it really solid. I just capitalized on opportunities whenever I gave myself chances,” Wedel said. “I still left a few out there, but that’s just how golf is. Overall, I played pretty well and hit shots when I needed to. It was a good day.
“It’s only one round of golf. I just got to stay mentally in it and stay calm,” he added about looking forward to the rest of the tournament. “It’s nice to shoot 64, but again, it’s only one round. Just got to keep plugging away.”
The second round of the three-day event is today. Shotgun start is 8:30 a.m.