DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
To Chad Campbell, Waialae compares to some of his favorite courses -- Colonial, Riviera and Hilton Head.
Only a handful of rookies make the grade
There were 21 rookie golfers wandering the Waialae Country Club course the past few days, but only nine will be playing this weekend.
Of that group, Andrew Buckle and George McNeill are having the fastest starts. They are tied for 16th at 4-under 136. Craig Lile and Johnson Wagner are tied for 25th at 3-under 137, Jarrod Lyle and Stephen Marino are tied for 49th at 1-under 139, and Doug LaBelle II, Michael Putnam and Jeff Quinney are tied for 62nd at even-par 140.
Three rookies were making their first PGA Tour appearances. Two of them, Ryan Armour and Brendon de Jonge, missed the cut by one shot. Tom Johnson was the third and he was DQd for signing an incorrect scorecard. Had he not, he too would have missed the cut by one.
Johnson wasn't the only golfer disqualified yesterday. Stephen Ames was also shown the outside of the ropes for signing an incorrect scorecard. Ames signed for a four at the 18th hole when he had a five and Johnson signed for a three when he had a four.
Last year, several first-timers found themselves in the top 10 by the end of the week, including Nathan Green, Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes. All three of those second-year tour members came back for more this season.
Green is in at 2-under 138 and Watson made it at 5-under 135. Holmes, who played in last week's Mercedes, wasn't as fortunate. He shot an 8-over 78 yesterday to miss the cut by eight strokes. He played the front nine in 5-over 40 for the second consecutive day.
Campbell, Furyk in the hunt: Chad Campbell, who finished in a tie for second with Rory Sabbatini last year, finds himself back in contention again. This is Campbell's sixth appearance at Waialae.
He made the cut in three of the first four, but the last two years is where he has left his mark. This course fits his eye well and could be the difference come the weekend. Last year, he shot a 62 in the third round to draw even with defending champion David Toms, only to settle for a 70 in the final round.
"This course is a lot like Colonial, Riviera, Hilton Head," Campbell said. "Those are some of the ones I kind of relate this one to and those are also my favorites. I just like the way it's kind of old-style, traditional golf course. Those really fit my eye. This is definitely one of the top ones I enjoy playing."
Count Furyk in as well. His 7-under 133 leaves him only four shots removed from second-round leaders Luke Donald and Paul Goydos. Furyk shared the second-round lead with Campbell in 2006 at 6-under 134 and could make some noise this weekend if he keeps his putter rolling.
Furyk has played the Sony Open every year since the course became a par-70 in 1999. His best finish was a tie for seventh last year with an 8-under 272 and a tie for seventh in 2002 with a 9-under 271. The only time he missed the cut was in 2004 and he should be a force come tomorrow's final round.
"I felt like I hit the ball pretty decent today," Furyk said. "I just hit the ball really well yesterday. Today it was pretty average. I didn't give myself as many opportunities on the green. I wasn't in a lot of trouble. But I was just plugging along."
Inside the numbers: There were seven bogey-free rounds yesterday, with four coming in the morning from Campbell (65), Jerry Kelly (65), Bart Bryant (69) and Wagner (69). The three in the afternoon were turned in by Donald (66), Goydos (63) and Buckle (66).
A pair of Wisconsin boys enjoyed the warmer climate yesterday. Kelly shot up the leaderboard to join Steve Stricker in a tie for eighth at 6-under 134. Kelly has had a lot of success here through the years. Not only did he win in 2002, but he has four top-10s in eight appearances here, including three in a row from 2002 to 2004.
Stricker is making only his third start here, with his best finish coming in 2000 at a tie for 14th. His career made a turn for the better last year when he managed six top-10 finishes, including a tie for sixth at the U.S. Open and a tie for seventh at the PGA Championship.
Jeff Maggert made the biggest move of the day. After opening with a 3-over 73 on Thursday, he came back with a 5-under 65 yesterday to go from a tie for 117th to a tie for 36th. He is making his ninth appearance here since the course went to a par-70 in 1999. That year, he had his best finish with a tie for second to winner Jeff Sluman.
The hardest hole yesterday was the par-3 fourth, with a scoring average of 3.387. There were only two birdies, by John Daly (68) and Quinney (71), 89 pars, 45 bogeys and six double bogeys. The easiest hole was the par-5 18th with a scoring average of 4.380. There were six eagles, 79 birdies, 54 pars and three bogeys by K.J. Choi, Joe Durant and D.J. Trahan.