Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Keith Okasaki finished a tournament under par for the first time this season and earned a trip to the NCAA Finals for his efforts.

Okasaki Punches Ticket to NCAA Finals With Fifth Place Finish in Albuquerque


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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Senior Keith Okasaki completed a spectacular showing at the NCAA Division II Central/West Regional on Wednesday, finishing in a two-way tie for fifth place following the final round at the University of New Mexico Championships Golf Course.

Okasaki carded a 76 to wrap up the tournament with a final tally of 2-under par, 214. As one of the top two individual finishers not competing with a team, he will advance to the NCAA Championship Finals May 16-20 in Florence, Ala.

Representing UC San Diego in regional competition for the third consecutive season, Okasaki began the day atop the leaderboard after firing a 68 and 70 in the opening two rounds. He slipped out of medalist contention with his 76 on Wednesday, but still finished as the top individual in the tournament and earned a chance to compete for a national title in two weeks.

Cal State Monterey Bay's John Jackson won the individual title -8, 208 following a final round 67. He finished with a four-stroke lead over Blake Snyder of Hawaii-Hilo, who came in at -4, 212. Sonoma State's Janssen Todd and CSUMB's Dylan Jackson finished tied for third at -3, 213. Todd had the best individual round of the day with a 65.

Okasaki shared fifth place with Gavin Lyons of Fort Lewis College and the pair finished a stroke in front of four players tied for seventh at -1. Chico State's Kyle Souza won a one-hole playoff against Grand Canyon's Mark Geddes and will join Okasaki as the other Central/West Regional individual in the finals.

Led by the strong play of the two Jacksons, Cal State Monterey Bay shot a 281 in the final round to overtake Sonoma State and claim the regional title. The Otters, who claimed a second straight CCAA Championship in Paso Robles two weeks ago, trailed the Seawolves by six strokes entering the third round but finished with a two-shot edge after SSU posted a 289 on Wednesday. Cal State Monterey Bay finished at 855 overall, while Sonoma State wrapped up at 857.

Fort Lewis (865) finished third, followed by Colorado State-Pueblo (866) in fourth and Hawaii-Hilo (876) in fifth. All five teams will move on to the finals.

Okasaki's 214 was his best three-round total of the season, eclipsing his +1, 217 at the CCAA Championships last month. The Sacramento native has come on strong lately, lowering his score in each of the last four tournaments.

For more information on the 2011 NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship, click here.

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