50TH MID-PACIFIC OPEN
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kevin Shimomura shot 5 over par yesterday to drop from two back in third place to 12 back.
Fujikawa makes waves at Mid-Pac
Moanalua junior looks to maintain his momentum after shooting a 66 yesterday
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Moanalua junior Tadd Fujikawa fired a sizzling 6-under 66 yesterday and leads the Mid-Pacific Open with a two-day total of 134, followed by three-time winner David Ishii at 136.
"The round could have been a little better, but pretty happy with what I did on the back nine," said Fujikawa, 17, at Mid-Pacific Country Club in Lanikai. "Hopefully I can take what I did on the back nine and take it into the weekend, and keep it going."
Defending champion Darren Summers of Scotland is also in the hunt after posting a 4-under 68 and sits in third at 139.
Punahou senior Stephanie Kono shot a 151 and became the first woman to make the cut at the tournament. Her Buffanblu teammate, Anna Jang, missed by three with a 156.
The field was trimmed from more than 200 to 110 after the cut. Play continues this morning at 7 at the No. 1 and No. 10 holes.
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Enjoy it while it lasts.
That was the sentiment among the contenders after the second day of the 50th Mid-Pacific Open yesterday.
With near-perfect conditions in the morning, leaders Tadd Fujikawa and David Ishii built a sizable gap over the rest of the pro/championship-flight field of 126.
Fujikawa, the 17-year-old professional and Moanalua junior, birdied seven holes, including his first three after the turn in taking a 66 and two-stroke lead into the clubhouse over Ishii, who led by a stroke entering the day.
The two-day totals of Fujikawa (10-under) and Ishii (8-under) are all but unheard of at par-72 Mid-Pacific Country Club in Lanikai, where the winners of the past three tournaments negotiated strong tradewinds and fast greens to go 2-over, 2-under, and even par to take the title.
Fujikawa, entering for the third time and first as a professional, hadn't appeared the last two years and felt comfortable playing in Hawaii once again. He nailed 20-foot birdies on Nos. 7 and 8, giving him five birdies on the back nine.
"It's definitely the best I've played in a while," he said. "The most confident I've been, and really have a good feeling."
"Of course, Jason (Amoy), the superintendent, is not going to be too happy," Fujikawa joked. "He doesn't like low numbers ... so it should be interesting. He may just hate me for this, and put the pins this far from the edge of the green." He held up his fingers a short length apart.
Ishii, the 52-year-old three-time champion (1986, 1989 and 2006), was more than satisfied with where he stands. He bounced back from a bogey on his first hole to post five birdies.
"I'm happy. The conditions are nice right now; usually the winds are a lot stronger here," Ishii said. "Just these two days they've got these kind of variable winds. Been kind of clean so far; the greens, since we don't have the wind, they're not as treacherous as they usually are. They say the trades should be coming back (today), so it should be fun on the weekend."
Defending champion Darren Summers of Scotland stormed back into contention with a bogey-free round of 4-under 68 for a two-day score of 139. The Maui resident is taking it easy on his knee and hadn't hit a golf ball in the seven months leading up the tournament, but that hasn't affected his play yet.
"The course is there for the taking; it's playing as easy as it can play," Summers said.
Summers and Kevin Hayashi finished tied with a four-round total of 2-over 290 last year. Summers went on to defeat Hayashi on the second playoff hole.
Punahou's Bradley Shigezawa and 2005 Hawaii-Hilo graduate Kevin Shimomura entered the day tied for third at 3-under, but both struggled in going 5-over. Shimomura, 24, missed out on the pristine morning conditions and toughed it out against increased wind in the afternoon, leading to a 4-over mark after the turn.
"It didn't help I didn't play very well, either," he said. "The morning conditions were good; I had that yesterday. The greens are so fast out here."
Stephanie Kono and Anna Jang, both of Punahou, were the first two women ever to compete in the tournament. Only Kono made the cut, but both left with a strong feeling of accomplishment.
"It's a good experience to know," said Kono, a UCLA-bound senior. "Women don't usually get a good chance to play against the men."
She was in good shape at par for the day entering the turn, but Kono double-bogeyed her 10th hole and barely made the cut.
Jang, a junior, thought she putted well but struggled with her approach shots.
"I feel very blessed and grateful that I got to play here," Jang said. "Some pressure, but it was OK because I learned a lot."