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UH golfer Blaze Akana qualified for his second straight Sony Open.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa senior Blaze Akana started 2024 competing in his second straight PGA Tour Sony Open in Hawaiʻi at Waiʻalae Country Club. Akana, who is in his final year on the UH menʻs golf team, failed to make the weekend cut but gained invaluable experience as one of two amateurs in the field alongside 142 of the world’s top professionals.

“Every time I get to step foot in a PGA Tour event is a great experience. I try to use it as a confidence going forward just knowing that I’m able to hit some shots under this amount of pressure with the big crowds watching,” Akana said. “The support was great this year. Pretty much all my teammates came out. Bunch of my family members came out to watch basically the whole 18.”

Akana’s best round came on Friday, January 12. The Honolulu native began on the 10th and made a solid birdie on the tough par-3 11th. He turned in 2-over par 37, before carding a bogey on the 4th. He then posted a great bounce-back birdie on the demanding 468-yard par-4 6th after sticking his approach to five feet, then reached the par-5 9th in two shots en route to a two-putt birdie and a 1-over 71.

Akana opened the tournament in the afternoon wave of the first round on Thursday, January 11. Conditions were tough as winds were blowing from the west, opposite the normal trade winds, at 15–20 miles per hour with gusts into the 30s. Akana bogeyed four of his first eight holes before carding a birdie on the par-5 9th. He really couldn’t get anything going on the back nine, posting five bogeys to shoot a first-round 79.

The Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama alumnus earned an exemption into the Sony Open after winning a local qualifier shooting 66 at Waiʻalae CC in November 2023. Of the 12 players in the qualifier, eight were UH golfers: Akana, James Whitworth, Kolbe Irei, Dane Watanabe, Zachary Sagayaga, Joshua Hayashida, Tyler Ogawa and Anson Cabello.

At the 2023 Sony Open, the Honolulu native missed the cut by just five shots after carding rounds of 71 and 72.

Akana currently leads the Rainbow Warriors with a 70.67 scoring average this season, shooting under par in five of 12 rounds including three in the 60s. The spring schedule begins Feb. 8–10 with the Amer Ari Intercollegiate in Waimea, Hawaiʻi.

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