RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
World No. 2 Jim Furyk was the only past winner to finish in the top 10 at the Sony Open yesterday. Furyk finished fourth.
Singh finishes far back, but retains FedExCup lead
Vijay Singh barely had any television time at this week's Sony Open in Hawaii, but he still is the FedExCup points leader after the first two events of the 2007 PGA Tour season.
Singh earned 4,500 points with his Mercedes-Benz Championship win last week and another 127 points for finishing in a tie for 34th this week at 3-under 277, some 11 shots behind eventual winner Paul Goydos.
Goydos sits in second after earning 4,500 points for his win this week. Luke Donald is in third with 3,038 points, Adam Scott is fourth (2,700) and Charles Howell III is fifth (2,200).
"I think that this is a new era," Goydos said.
"That's what the tour keeps telling us. The FedExCup is exciting. It's going to bring, hopefully, more viewers to the game and hopefully be able to get out in the forefront and have a good week right out of the box and win one of the first events.
"That's part of what's going to sink in over the next few days. It's a pretty big deal to win the first full-field event in the FedExCup. That's pretty cool."
As for Singh, he said earlier in the week that he had let down somewhat due to winning the first tournament of the year on Maui. He added that he liked the island air, that it calmed him, but that he also wanted to get sharp in a hurry. That didn't happen this week for the man who won the Sony Open in 2005.
But for the second week in a row, he remains the leader and will likely remain No. 5 in the world when the new rankings come out today. That's a good feeling for Singh. He had heard the Golf Channel say he would never be in the top 5 again.
"I saw that," Singh said. "It's a shame. I mean, two years ago, I won nine events. Three years ago, I won four. So, it's not like I went off the map or anything. I did finish high on the money list last year. I still won a golf tournament. When you look at it, I can still show them something. You just have to be careful that you don't get too involved in all that. You have it in the back of your mind, but you don't forget."
Even though Singh took the early lead in the FedExCup, K.J. Choi and Donald were the only two golfers to manage top-10 finishes in both events in the island chain. Donald finished in a tie for second at the Sony and seventh at the Mercedes. Choi tied for fourth at the Sony and tied for eighth at the Mercedes. He is seventh in the FedExCup race with 1,709 points.
It's how you arrive: Amateur Tadd Fujikawa shared the lead in greens in regulation with Choi and John Senden at 75 percent. Fujikawa hit 54 of 72 greens for the week. Had he been able to cash a check, it would have been worth around $52,000.
Last year, driving accuracy percentage for the field here was a tour low 43.66 percent. The field fared a little better this year, hitting 48.39 percent of the fairways. Last year's leader was Jerry Kelly at 67.86 percent.
Good finishes: The only past champion to manage a top-10 showing this week was Jim Furyk, who won the United Airlines Hawaiian Open in 1996. Defending champion David Toms still managed a nice run this week. His tie for 13th was the fourth time he has finished well here. He won in 2006, tied for 12th in 2005 and tied for fourth in 2002.
Rookie Doug LaBelle II tied for fourth after opening with rounds of 69 and 71 to make the cut on the number at even par. With closing rounds of 4-under 66 and 5-under 65, he was the top finishing rookie of the nine who survived the cut. This was his first cut made in four tour starts. He posted the only bogey-free round yesterday.
U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy finished in a tie for eighth thanks to a closing round of 6-under 64, the best of the day. He moved up from a tie for 42nd to his first top 10 of 2007. He shot 8-under 272 for the tournament.
Inside the numbers: There were 10 players entering the final 18 holes who could post four rounds in the 60s. When the final putt fell yesterday, only two turned the trick. They were Donald and Furyk. Last year, the only two to manage it were Toms and Kelly. Two years ago, Singh was the only player and three years back there were 14.
The hardest hole yesterday was the par-4 second with a scoring average of 4.403. There were only two birdies by Nathan Green and 1999 Sony Open winner Jeff Sluman, 41 pars, 27 bogeys and two double bogeys by Mathew Goggin and Cliff Kresge. The hardest hole for the tournament was also the second with a scoring average of 4.313. For the week, there was one eagle, 27 birdies, 264 pars, 109 bogeys and 27 double bogeys.
The easiest hole yesterday was the par-5 18th as it was all four days. The scoring average yesterday was 4.403 with three eagles, 39 birdies, 28 pars and two bogeys. For the week, the scoring average at this hole was 4.353 with 23 eagles, 243 birdies, 150 pars and 12 bogeys.