Posted with permission, article and pictures, from University of Hawaii Hilo
LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz.--A strong front nine for Tia Kualii and a solid back nine for Kaelyn Uchida left both UH Hilo golfers in contention after the first round of the Pacific West Conference Women’s Golf Championships on Monday at the Wigwam Golf Course.
Kualii shot a 76 (+4) and Uchida turned in a 77 (+5). They are just two and three shots respectively behind the leader Claire Shubin of Dominican (74).
Two more rounds remain (one on Tuesday, the final 18 on Wednesday), with the first group teeing off at 7 a.m. tomorrow (4 a.m. Hawaii time).
As a team, the Vulcans are tied for fifth place with defending champion Point Loma (+27), but they are only nine shots behind tournament leader Biola. Holy Names is two shots ahead of the Vulcans in fourth place (+25), Dominican and Academy of Art are tied for second place (+25), while Biola is your first round leader at +20.
Kualii, a second-year sophomore from Hilo (Waiakea HS), made par on the first eight holes she played before turning in a bogey on No. 9 (37 total). After that extremely consistent front nine, Kualii had a lot more adventure on the back nine. She birdied 11 and then bogeyed 12, still leaving her tied for second and just two shots behind then-leader and three-time defending champion Anahi Servin of Academy of Art. Kualii continued her up and down play with birdies on 14 and 17, bogeys on 13 and 16, a double bogey on 15, and then a par on 18 for a 39.
Uchida, also a Waiakea HS alum, shot a 40 on the front nine but then birdied three holes on the back side to eventually post a 37 (77 total). UHH’s other two team scorers were Kailey Oki and Tori Hironaga, both carding 82’s. Carli Shimokihara had an 88.
Shubin, who finished second to Servin at last years PacWest tournament on the Big Island, birdied hole 17 and played even round golf over the back nine to take a one shot lead over FIVE other players who all shot a 75–Servin, Sami Penor (Biola), Regina Parra (Holy Names), Ebba Wernered (Holy Names) and Angelica Antonio (Dominican).