It’s was an eventful weekend for University of San Diego golfers from Hawaii. Oahu’s Evan Kawai was runner up at the Manoa Cup on Saturday. Sunday, Maui’s Alex Chiarella earned his first big pro win in Canada.
Chiarella is a Seabury Hall grad. He turned pro after graduating college in 2016 but his only pro win until now was the Maui Open.
The 25 year old from Makawao qualified for full status on the Mackenzie Tour in March. But since then had missed his first three cuts. That all turned around this weekend when he won the Lethbridge Paradise Canyon Open in in a rainy Lethbridge, Alberta.
The small tours are a grind. Chiarella’s 20 under par first place finish is a big step in the right direction.
“It’s an incredible feeling, said Chiarella via facetime. “A lot of work had gone into it. A lot of downs, more than ups but I’m going to enjoy this up for sure. Its been quite the journey. Every professional golfer or professional athlete can say the same. But it’s always a journey to get to a win like this. And just a lot of hard work. A lot of patience. A lot of dedication goes into it. Just definitely stoked to get the first W.”
One must put up very low numbers to contend on the smaller professional tours. Chiarella had posted +2, +2, and +5 in his missed cuts leading up to this week where he finished -20 after four rounds and won by one.
“Coming off three missed cuts, I definitely didn’t feel that great about my game,” said Chiarella. “But at the same time I wasn’t playing that bad. And I felt like I was pretty close to at least shooting some good scores. I didn’t think that I was going to come out here and win if I’m being completely honest with you. But I had some confidence in my game that I would turn it around. A few good breaks here, few putts go in here, solid playing toward the end and wraps up to a W somehow.”
Chiarella wasn’t without familiar faces. The tournament had four other Hawaii golfers competing, including Oahu’s Lorens Chan who tallied his fourth straight top ten.
“Only 156 guys in here and five of us are from Hawaii,” said Chiarella. “Definitely cool to represent the state that well.”
Chiarella has a week off before getting back to the Mackenzie Tour schedule. The goal is to advance from there to the Korn Ferry Tour, and eventually make it to the PGA Tour.