Pepperdine’s Wedel wins individual title

PRINCEVILLE — Pepperdine University junior Fred Wedel finished 20-under par after three rounds to claim individual honors at the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational.

Wedel defeated a field of 84 players from 15 schools on Wednesday at the Makai Golf Club in Princeville. Because he’s played in the invitational the previous two years, Wedel said knowing the course was his advantage.

“Today, I really didn’t hit it very well, but I missed in the right spots and made the putts when I needed to. So, I hung around today,” he said after the final round. “It feels great. (Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans) is the No. 1 amateur in the world, and he deserves to be there. (Arizona State’s Jon Rahm), I think he’s 2. They’re both just tremendous players. They’re solid all around.”

No. 11 Georgia Tech scored 55-under-par to finish first on the team leaderboard, edging No. 28 Arizona State, 40-under, and No. 42 Louisville, 38-under.

“It was a very good finish to the fall for us,” Schniederjans said, who is the No. 3 ranked college player, according to Golfstat. “I did all right. Just need to be a little bit sharper and make more putts or hit it closer — one or the other.”

Georgia Tech had two players finish in the top 5 of the individual leaderboard — seniors Schniederjans, 17-under-par, and Anders Albertson, 16-under-par.

“We’ve had two events prior to this that weren’t our best. We’re looking to get back on track. Everyone contributed throughout the week and it was great to see,” Albertson said. “I personally didn’t have that great of a fall. So it was awesome for me to be out there playing like I know I can and help my team out.

“Unfortunately, I don’t want to go back because it’s like 38 degrees in Atlanta,” he added about his trip to Kauai. “I want to go to Na Pali Coast or something. We have a red-eye flight tonight. It should be fun.”

Despite getting a decent start in the tournament, the University of Hawaii at Manoa men’s team couldn’t build on it. UH finished 15th at 20-over.

“A few of them were doing OK, but the majority of them weren’t playing very well at all today. It’s just been the trend. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is, “ said UH men’s golf head coach Ronn Miyashiro. “It’s just a matter of confidence, I think. We get into a rut where certain things don’t go well in the round and we literally just fold. It’s just an experience thing.”

Sophomore Skye Inakoshi was UH’s best golfer of the tournament, finishing 5-under. Freshman Adrian Lee finished 1-over. Sophomore, and Kauai High alumnus Justin “Pono” Tokioka, ended the event 8-over.

“It was my first tournament in Division I college. It was a great experience. The level of competition is really tough,” Lee said. “My goal was to finish under par, but I was nearly there. Just have to keep grinding it out and work on it.”

The UH men’s golf team won’t have much time to rest as it looks forward to the Kaanapali Classic Collegiate Invitational on Maui, which begins Friday.

Though his team didn’t have the showing he hoped for, Miyashiro believes his players can turn things, build confidence with each event and peak toward the end of the year.

“There is the potential for it to be there,” he said. “Being able to handle that on a consistent basis is what makes you a better player, and we’re just not there yet. We got to work hard to get to that point.

“I’m a believer in that you have to feel pain to learn from pain. I’m a true believer of that because if you candy-coat everything, you don’t learn anything,” the UH coach added. “So, you let them dwell on it for a little while just so they acknowledge that they’ve made mistakes and move on from there.”

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