Pono returns to Wailua for Burns tourney

Justin “Pono” Tokioka, a Kauai High School alumnus, will be on the course as early as Tuesday morning when the University of Hawaii men’s golf program hosts the 39th annual John A. Burns Intercollegiate golf tournament at the Wailua Golf Course.

The public is invited to view the competition between some of the nation’s top-ranked collegiate golf programs as they open play with shotgun starts starting Wednesday and continuing through the final round Friday.

Sixteen teams, including four-time defending champion No. 26 California, will compete at the Wailua Golf Course, the second time in the tournament’s 39-year history it has been contested on Kauai.

Tournament format is 54 holes over three days, playing at 6,991 yards, par 72 at Wailua Golf Course, a municipal course which has played host to three USGA National Public Links Championships and holds a Top 10 rating by Golf Digest as “one of the best courses in the state of Hawaii.”

The University of Hawaii will host two teams, Tokioka being in the No. 3 post of its A team. Other teams on the course include No. 19 Virginia, No. 25 University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and No. 27 New Mexico. The field rounds out with teams from Arizona, Brigham Young, BYU-Hawaii, Colorado State, Fresno State, University of Hawaii-Hilo, Long Beach State, Santa Clara, Texas A&M, University of Texas-El Paso and Washington State.

Greeted by pouring rain and flash flood warnings during 2014 play, California was declared the champion with a 560 team total, nine strokes better than runner-up teams Texas A&M and BYU.

BYU posted the tournament’s individualist in Justin Keiley who stood at 10-under 134 before the tournament was rained out. Defending champion Joel Stalter finished in the runner-up slot at 6-under 138.

Hawaii the tournament Wailua following a 16th-place finish at the Amer Ari Invitational two weeks ago at Waikoloa Kings Course on Big Island.

The Rainbow Warrior golf teams have the first two tee times during the Tuesday practice rounds — 9 a.m. and 9:10 a.m.

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