The University of Hawai'i welcomes some of the top collegiate teams in the country to the Ocean Course at Hokuala in Lihu'e, Kaua'i for the 46th playing of the John A. Burns Intercollegiate, which tees off on Thursday.
Led by reigning U.S. Amateur champion Sam Bennett, Texas A&M is the highest-ranked team in the field, checking in at No. 11 in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin poll. Other top-25 teams in the 21-team field include No. 20 Arizona and No. 21 San Diego State.
The Aggies opened their spring season two weeks ago with a win at the Arizona Thunderbirds Intercollegiate at Tucson Country Club, where it shot 828 (270-278-280) to edge host Arizona by three strokes.
Other teams in the field include BYU, California, Fresno State, Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount, Nevada, New Mexico, Sacramento State, Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara, UNC Wilmington, UNLV, USC, Utah, UTEP and Washington State.
Related: Gone With the Wind: College teams travel to Hawai'i; see tourney cancelled
This year's field includes eight past champions who have won a combined 23 titles, including last year's champion, three-time winner New Mexico (2001, '05, & '22). Other past champions include Arizona (1992, 2003 & '04), BYU (1977, 2000 & '07), California (2011-15), San Diego State (2002), Texas A&M (2009, '18, & '20), UNLV (1991, '98, '99 & 2010), and USC (1986).
"We are so excited to host the John A. Burns Intercollegiate at the Ocean Course at Hokuala," Hawai'i head coach Scott Simpson said. "Last year was our first year playing this Jack Nicklaus designed course and the tournament got rave reviews from all the players and teams. The Ocean Course at Hokuala is a fun, beautiful and really challenging golf course. It has some great risk reward holes right next to the ocean, and some inland holes that remind you of Jurassic Park. It is in great shape with some fantastic greens."
Teams will play a total of 54 holes over the three-day tournament at the 7,156-yard, par-72 course with an 8:30 a.m., shotgun start each day.
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In its 46th year, the John A. Burns Intercollegiate is considered the University of Hawai'i's premiere golf tournament, providing some of the nation's top-ranked programs with the opportunity to compete against one another in the 50th state.
The annual spring tournament has seen tremendous growth since its first year in 1977. The tournament was held primarily at Kāne'ohe Klipper Golf Course before moving to Leilehua Golf Course in 2000 for an 11-year run. The tournament then moved to Turtle Bay Resort from 2011-13 and Wailua Golf Course on Kaua'i from 2014-20. This year's tournament will be played at Ocean Course Hokuala for the second consecutive year.
Past champions include Bob Clampett, who won at Wailua in 1978, Steve Pate (UCLA, 1983), Notah Begay (Stanford, 1995), Tiger Woods (Stanford, 1996), and Bo Van Pelt (Oklahoma State, 1997). Oklahoma State has a won record six Burns titles while California captured five straight titles from 2011-15.
As governor of the state of Hawai'i, Burns longed to see the growth of UH's athletes at a competitive level with the rest of the nation. He took part in initiating statehood in 1959 and also started the planning and construction for Aloha Stadium – home of UH football and the NFL's Pro Bowl, as well as other island sporting events and music concerts.
Before he passed away on April 15, 1975 at the age of 66, Burns had a hand in upgrading UH's athletics program. Shortly after his death, his namesake tournament was founded. This tournament reflects back to Burns, the political power who was really a "sportsman at heart."
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Tournament Quick Facts
February 16-18, 2023
Three-days; 54 holes (18 holes each day); 5-count-4
8:30 a.m. shotgun start each day
Ocean Course Hokuala
Live Scoring: GolfState.com
Defending Team Champion:
New Mexico (839)
Defending Individual Champion:
Aaron Du, California (203)
University of Hawai'i Athletics Communications contributed to this report