Texas' Hakula cruises to New Year's Invitational title

Toni Hakula

Toni Hakula

Texas junior Toni Hakula shot a final-round 68 Jan. 6 at St. Petersburg (Fla.) Country Club to win the New Year’s Invitational.

Hakula’s 12-under 276 total was four shots better than Joshua White, who shot a final-round 67.

Hakula, of Finland, opened with 73, but was 13 under par in the final three rounds. His second-round 65 was the low round of the tournament, and was followed by scores of 70-68 on the weekend. He has finished in the top-10 in the past three New Year’s Invitationals. Hakula, a member of Texas’ 2012 NCAA Championship team, is No. 77 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings and 159th in the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Michael Miller, No. 28 in the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings, and SMU freshman David Lee tied for third at 6-under 282, six shots behind Hakula. Miller shot a final-round 70, while Lee was one shot higher on Sunday.

Miller was one of 16 players who participated in a recent practice session for the Walker Cup. Jim Liu was the only other Walker Cup practice-session participant to play at St. Petersburg Country Club. Liu didn’t break par until the final round, and finished at 3-over 291, 15 shots off the lead. Liu was runner-up at last year’s New Year’s Invitational.

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