SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
Miracle finish helps Goydos get to Hawaii
If it weren't for the final full-field event of 2006 for Paul Goydos, he might not be here for the first full-field event of 2007.
The 42-year-old golfer from Long Beach State entered the Chrysler Championship ranked No. 160 on the money list and in need of a miracle to crack the top 125. He found it by tying for second and cashing a $466,400 paycheck to finish 97th and keep his PGA Tour card.
"Wouldn't be here," Goydos said when asked what would have happened without that big payday at the last. "We were basically terrible for 23 weeks and had a good week that vaulted me into the top 125. I think vault is the right word, too."
Goydos opened with a 4-under 66 yesterday to trail Sony Open in Hawaii front-runner Luke Donald by three shots. He's tied for fifth with another seven golfers and in good position to build off last year's good closing. He managed two top 10s and four top 25s en route to making the cut in 11 of 24 events in 2006.
"Looking back, I struggled and then had some good weeks," Goydos said. "They just happened to be at the end, as opposed to the beginning and that was a good thing. I would love to think that that bled into today, but I don't know that I can even keep 10 weeks of momentum.
"The funny thing is, I think this golf course and (the Chrysler Championship) are not the same, but they are similar. It's a golf course where a variety of players are going to be successful. There are some holes where length is an advantage and a lot of holes just keeping it in play is really the answer."
Goydos, who had to go back through Q-school in 2002, said he would have made the same journey again in 2006.
"I can't really do anything else," Goydos said. "I don't have any other skills. What else am I going to do?"
Tale of two rounds: J.B. Holmes was ready to pack his bags and head back to Kentucky after shooting a 5-over 40 on the more difficult front nine. He opened with four consecutive bogeys and went as high as 6 over through eight, before birdieing the par-5 ninth. It must have been a shot in the arm for him.
He came back with three birdies over the first four holes and closed with birdies on the final two to shoot a blistering 5 under on the back for an even-par 70. Holmes played well here last year, finishing with a top-10 finish in his first event as a tour member. He also had a solid performance on Maui last week, finishing in a tie for fourth.
Oberholser withdraws: No reason was given why Arron Oberholser withdrew yesterday, but a good guess would be his back. After playing one round at last week's Mercedes, where he shot an even-par 73, Oberholser said he blew out his back and couldn't finish.
He earned $50,000 for showing up, but it's not official money because he did not complete his round. As it turned out, only five of the 36 golfers who qualified for the Mercedes did not play here. They were Oberholser, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Kirk Triplett.
Inside the numbers: Donald's 63 is the lowest first-round score in Hawaii since Carlos Franco managed a 63 in 2004 to lead Jesper Parnevik by two strokes. Franco went on to finish in a tie for 20th that year. Ernie Els won the tournament after opening with a 67. Donald's 63 is only one off his career low of 62 that he shot at Spyglass Hill Golf Club last year. Donald wound up finishing in a tie for seventh with three rounds in the 70s.
Michelle Wie's ability to find the fairways here has dropped steadily since her first start in 2004, where she hit 67.9 percent of the short grass. That number fell to 64.2 percent in 2005, 50 percent last year and 7.1 percent yesterday. Her driving distance in 2004 averaged 271 yards. That number dipped to 206.5 yards yesterday.
The hardest hole yesterday was the par-4 second, despite an eagle by Ryuji Imada, who shot a 4-under 66. The scoring average was 4.431 with one eagle, six birdies, 82 pars, 40 bogeys and 15 double bogeys. Of the opening six holes, four were among the five most difficult.
The easiest hole was the par-5 18th with a scoring average of 4.313. There were 10 eagles, 84 birdies, 45 pars and five bogeys by Michael Allen, Ben Curtis, Craig Lile, Abe Mariano, who kept Wie from being last at 13-over 83, and Michael Putnam.