New Mexico, Cal's Aaron Du earn John Burns Intercollegiate titles
19 Feb 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: John Burns Intercollegiate, The Ocean Course at Hokuala, Aaron Du Rankings

Courtesy of New Mexico Athletics
Courtesy of New Mexico Athletics

The New Mexico Lobos combined to go 18-under in their final two rounds to complete a come-from-behind victory at the John Burns Intercollegiate which wrapped up on Saturday at the Ocean Course at Hokuala in Lihue, Kaui.

Cal freshman Aaron Du birdied his final two holes to hold off Sam Bennett of Texas A&M and New Mexico's Sam Choi to claim medalist honors at 13-under 203.

New Mexico, which began the day three strokes behind 36-hole leader Arizona, shot a final round of 4-under 284 to finish at 25-under 834 for the tournament to post a nine-stroke win over the Wildcats, which stumbled to 8-over 296 on Saturday.

It marked the Lobo's second win of the season following their victory at the Wolf Pack Classic in Nevada in October. New Mexico also has two runner-up finishes on the year.

"Another great job by our guys today,” said Lobo head coach Glen Millican. “We had an awesome start and finished well again in some tough conditions on the hard final five holes. It was an impressive showing and a great win on a fantastic course against some great teams.”

In addition to Choi's second-place showing, Brandon Shong carded a final round 71 to finish tied for fourth at 8-under and Bastien Amat finished tied for sixth at 7-under after turning in an even-par 72 on Saturday.

Du, a freshman from Beijing, China, played himself in the driver's seat for the individual title following his opening round of 66 on Thursday. He followed with a 5-under 67 and finished off the tournament with a 2-under round of 70.

Coming off a fifth-place finish at the Arizona Intercollegiate, Du held off a hard-charging Sam Bennett of Texas A&M, who carded a career-best 8-under 64 in Saturday's final round to earn a share of second place with Choi.

Choi was 8-under on his round through 12 holes and briefly moved to the top of the leaderboard at 14-under par, but three bogeys on his last five holes left him with a 67 and the clubhouse lead.

Playing two groups behind Choi, Du birdied the par-5 17th and closed with a birdie on 18 to win the individual title by two strokes.

"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!"

"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," said Cal head coach Walter Chun said. "I am confident that this win will only motivate Aaron to work even harder. He's that type of guy." New Mexico and Cal Athletic Communications contributed to this report.

ABOUT THE John Burns Intercollegiate

54 hole men's college tournament hosted by the University of Hawaii. Team (best four out of five players) and individual scoring.

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