Aaron Du Wins John Burns Intercollegiate
LIHUE, Hawaii – For those familiar with Aaron Du's work ethic, it does not come as a surprise that the sophomore left Kauai as the individual medalist of the John Burns Intercollegiate.
"He's put in a lot of hours working on his game and to see him perform at this high level is a testament to that," Alex and Marie Shipman Director of Men's Golf Walter Chun said. "I am confident that this win will only motivate Aaron to work even harder. He's that type of guy."
The battle for first place came down to the final two holes between Du and Sam Choi of New Mexico. Choi shot five under for the round (67) and briefly took the lead. Then, tied for the top spot, Choi finished his round two holes ahead of Du, opening the door for Du to win the tournament outright should he manage a birdie in his final two frames. Du did just that, birdying his final two holes to win the tournament by two strokes. However, Du was unaware of the drama that unfolded in the final two holes as he purposefully kept himself ignorant to the leaderboard throughout the round.
"I did not look at the scoreboard the entire day," Du said. "When I made the birdie putt on the last hole, I asked Coach Walter whether I did it or not, and he said that I did. That's when I knew. There were ups and downs for the last couple of holes, but I told myself to focus on the next shot, and the next shot only. It definitely paid off!"
The Beijing, China native finished the tournament 13 strokes under par with a total score of 203, including rounds of 66 (-6), 67 (-5) and 70 (-2). Furthermore, Du averaged under par on all par 3s (2.83 – tied for the lowest average in the field), 4s (3.80 – third lowest) and 5s (4.42).
The remaining Golden Bears were closely bunched in the standings, finishing within five strokes of each other. Redshirt freshman Ethan Chung finished the tournament tied for 40th with a score of 220 (+4) He shot an even 72 on Saturday. Three strokes behind Chung was sophomore Sampson Zheng, tied for 58th (223, +7). Zheng produced a 76 (+4) in the final round. Both redshirt sophomore Costas Panay and grad student Finigan Tilly tied for 69th with a final score of 225 (+9). Panay had his best round on Saturday (72, E – a seven-stroke improvement over his first round) while Tilly shot a 78 (+6). Competing as individuals, freshman Simon Kwon finished T8 (210, -6) and freshman Charlie Berridge finished T76 (226, +10).
As a team, the Bears improved two spots on the leaderboard to tie with Fresno State and Grand Canyon for seventh place (865, +1).
Cal will be back in action when it competes at the Cabo Collegiate Feb. 27-March 1 at the Cabo del Sol Ocean Course in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
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