Okasaki Advances to National Finals

Competing at the NCAA Division-II Central/West Regional on May 2 to May 4, he tied for fifth place with an overall score of 214. Okasaki qualified by being one of the lowest-scoring individuals on a team that didn’t advance.

The tournament took place at the University of New Mexico Championships Golf Course, and though the altitude change took getting used to, Okasaki had coach Mike Wydra there with him.

“[Wydra] basically did what a tour caddy would do for me,” Okasaki said. “And he definitely saved me some strokes.”

Okasaki’s first round was his best, and with strong putting, he scored 68 to tie for first place.

In the second round, he managed to hit the ball well, although his putting was weaker than in round one. Okasaki shot a 70 for the round, and after the first two days, he was alone in first place.

In the third round, Okasaki slipped. He was even through six holes, but hit a bad stretch at holes 7- 10, which ended with him at five over par. Okasaki finished the round with 76, tying him for fifth overall for the tournament.

“I was pretty focused, didn’t think about the overall result,” Okasaki said.

That result was Okasaki’s first trip to the finals, and his best three-round score this season. This was the third-straight season that Okasaki went to the regional competition. Before the competition, Okasaki said that he hadn’t “really considered it [going to finals],” and that he “still thinks it’s pretty impossible to make it out of regionals.”

Now, Okasaki will represent the Tritons at the NCAA National Championships, which will be held from May 16 to May 20 in Florence, Alabama.

To prepare, Okasaki went home to Sacramento.

“I’m a much more efficient practicer up here,” he said.

Okasaki said he will play several courses in the area before heading to Alabama.

Readers can contact Jessica Traynor at [email protected].