As an amateur, 16-year-old Kihei Akina is ineligible for the $20,000 check that will go to the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open pro bottom after Sunday’s final round.

But that doesn’t mean the sophomore from nearby Lone Peak High won’t be aiming for the tournament title in the 54-hole, par-72 event at the Riverside Country Club in Provo.

Akina, one of six 16-year-olds in the 156 field, shot his second straight 67 on Saturday to hit 10 under in wet and somewhat windy conditions on the course just northwest of BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium .

“Just keep everything the same. Everything is fine for me at the moment. – Golfer Kihei Akina, 16, on his strategy in the final round of the Utah Open.

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who is taking part in the event for the second straight year, shot a 77 on Saturday to go along with the 70 he carded on Friday and failed to cut, finishing at 3-over. The CBS Sports NFL analyst finished last year 4 under and tied for 42nd.

Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith, also an amateur, also missed the cut at +3.

Akina will be a sophomore at Lone Peak this fall. Last fall, he won the 6A State High School Golf Tournament with a 6-under par score at Davis Park Golf Course and helped the Knights claim their eighth state team title in nine year.

That was months after he finished tied for second at the Utah Open for low amateur honors with his brother, BYU golfer Keanu Akina. They shot 8-under 208 last year, five strokes behind Farmington’s Cole Ponich, also a BYU golfer.

After starting on the No. 10 tee on Saturday, Kihei Akina made a 25-footer for a birdie on the No. 9 to finish with another 67. He had bogeyed holes 3 and 5 to drop down the leaderboard, but made a eagle on par- 5 seventh to recover.

His strategy for Sunday?

“Just keep it all the same,” he said. “I’m fine right now.”

Akina said the hit putter was on fire through 36 holes.

“I would say I was pretty solid from the start, but that’s definitely why he’s in the top five,” he said.

Current and former BYU golfers Zac Jones and Zac Blair are also eliminated at under 10, both having fired 68 shots on Saturday. Jones won the Utah State Amateur last month and Blair played on the Korn Ferry Tour while recovering from shoulder surgery. He will join the PGA Tour next month.

Fellow BYU golfer, former Skyline star Tyson Shelley, is 8 under after a Saturday 69. First-round leader and BYU golfer David Timmins climbed to 74 in the second round to no longer be in run.

To become the first former or current Cougar to win the Utah Open since Peter Kuest in 2020, Jones, Blair and Shelley will have to contend with a former Ute, Blake Tomlinson.

The new Salt Lake City pro added a 67 to the 66 he shot in the first round and is 11 under. Former BYU golfer and Masters participant Clay Ogden is also under 11.

“It was good. I hit a lot more quality shots today,” Tomlinson said. relied on the putter to go long when I wasn’t hitting it close so it was a good day.

Tomlinson’s day would have been even better had it not been for an errant approach on the par-5 16th that found water.

“My only bogey was on a par-5,” he said. “I hit him in the water, but I almost went up and down.

Tomlinson, who played on the Canadian Tour this summer, said his strategy would be to keep attacking par-5s and stay aggressive.

“You have to do at least two or three at least to have a chance of a good lap,” he said. “Especially when the wind is up like it was on our last two holes, you just have to take advantage of it.”