Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, January 18, 1999

S O N Y _H A W A I I _ O P E N

Associated Press
Jeff Sluman hits out of the sand onto the first green
of the Waialae Country Club during final round
play of the Sony Open.

Sluman slays ’em

He comes out of the pack
to win the Sony Open
by 2 strokes

By Bill Kwon


You won't get any complaints from Jeff Sluman about the changes at the Waialae Country Club golf course -- site of the Sony Open in Hawaii, the PGA Tour's first full-field event.

Especially now that par is 70 instead of 72 with two par-5 holes converted into par 4's.

"I don't think on the other course I could have won the golf tournament," said Sluman, who shot a final-round 66 yesterday to win the inaugural Sony Open by two strokes with a 72-hole total of 271.

That's a winning total of 9-under-par.

Last year, 9-under-par at Waialae would have been good enough for only 64th place. Yesterday, it was worth a $468,000 paycheck for Sluman. Appropriately, his golf cap sponsor is "Paychex," an employer services company based in Rochester, N.Y.

Obviously, Waialae has undergone more than cosmetic changes. It must have, if a 4-under-par round on Sunday is good enough to win by two strokes.

"We were all a little hesitant at first," Sluman said, regarding the changes to toughen the golf course.

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Jeff Sluman holds the winner's check
for the Sony Open in Hawaii.

"Obviously, it seemed to suit my game pretty good. I like a course where par is the same for everybody."

Sluman was referring to the first and 13th holes, which are now par 4 for everyone, not birdie 4 for the long hitters. "The par 5s were a little too easy for the longer hitters, so par 70 really helped me out."

It sure did as Sluman, the 1988 PGA Champion, had missed the cut in last year's Hawaiian Open and posted only one top-10 finish in six other times when he survived the cut.

Not one of the longer hitters on the tour in driving distance -- he was 138th last year -- Sluman is putting for birdie with everyone else who gets on in regulation. The long hitters who knocked it on in two had previously been putting for eagle. No more two-putt birdies there.

"Slu played well. He made birdies down the stretch to pull away," said playing partner Jeff Maggert, who finished in a five-way tie for second place at 273 with Tommy Tolles, Davis Love III, Len Mattiace and Chris Perry.

"Slu made a great shot at 17 when he needed it and a good chip at 18 for a tap-in," Maggert said.

Sluman nailed a 6-iron to within three feet of the flagstick for his birdie at the par-3 17th to go to eight under.

When he birdied the par-5 finishing hole, Sluman knew that Tolles and Love, who were one-two, respectively, going into yesterday's final round, needed double-eagles just to tie.

Never happened.

Not wanting to be short of the green, Sluman went with a 4-wood from 251 yards out on his second shot, which rolled just past the back slope of the green. With the pin cut 15 feet from the left front of the green, Sluman's 75-foot chip stopped to 18 inches of the flagstick for an easy, tap-in birdie.

Still, he didn't rest easy until Love and Tolles -- playing in the final twosome -- failed to hole out for a two.

"Stranger things have happened and, certainly, we've seen some wild and crazy stuff on 18 at Waialae historically," Sluman said.

With the victory in the Sony Open, Sluman has now won a tournament in each of the last three years. He won the Greater Milwaukee Open last year to qualify for last week's Mercedes Championship at Kapalua, Maui.

"I'm playing about as good as I'm able to right now. Also, things just seem to be going my way more than they used to," said Sluman, who's 41. "Last year I had the most wonderful year of my life."

Besides earning $1.14 million to finish 21st on the money list, Sluman had a baby daughter and moved into his new home in Chicago. This year is starting off wonderfully, too. With his 13th-place finish at Kapalua, Sluman has earned $531,050 in his two-week stay in Hawaii.

John Huston, who won last year's Hawaiian Open with a PGA record 28-under-par 260, finished at 275 along with Mark O'Meara, Larry Mize and Fred Funk, who had the day's best round of 65.

For once, it wasn't the wind, or lack of it, that was the story at Waialae. It was the new par-70 layout.

It was like a U.S. Open course and the scores reflected it.


Sony Open

At Waialae Country Club

Bullet Final-round leaders, par-70
Jeff Sluman, $468,000, 69-70-66-66--271
Chris Perry, $156,000, 69-69-69-66--273
Len Mattiace, $156,000, 70-66-69-68--273
Jeff Maggert, $156,000, 69-70-66-68--273
Tommy Tolles, $156,000, 63-72-67-71--273
Davis Love III, $156,000, 71-69-63-70--273
Jimmy Green, $75,660, 70-70-68-66--274
Loren Roberts, $75,660, 69-69-69-67--274
Paul Goydos, $75,660, 72-68-67-67--274
Chris Couch, $75,660, 69-70-68-67--274
Chris Riley, $75,660, 67-71-68-68--274
Fred Funk, $52,650, 66-71-73-65--275
Larry Mize, $52,650, 69-68-69-69--275
Mark O'Meara, $52,650, 66-71-67-71--275
John Huston, $52,650, 68-68-68-71--275
Tom Watson, $41,600, 71-68-71-66--276
Stuart Appleby, $41,600, 69-68-70-69--276
Esteban Toledo, $41,600, 65-72-68-71--276
Tim Herron, $31,512, 69-70-70-68--277
Mike Sposa, $31,512, 71-66-70-70--277
Jim Furyk, $31,512, 70-72-66-69--277
Duffy Waldorf, $31,512, 69-69-69-70--277
Nolan Henke, $31,512, 70-67-68-72--277
Dan Forsman, $21,580, 67-71-75-65--278
Cameron Beckman, $21,580, 67-72-71-68--278
Steve Jones, $21,580, 70-70-70-68--278
Peter Jacobsen, $21,580, 66-73-70-69--278
Mike Hulbert, $21,580, 69-66-70-73--278
Mike Brisky, $17,290, 72-68-70-69--279
Jesper Parnevik, $17,290, 71-68-70-70--279
John Maginnes, $17,290, 67-72-69-71--279
Craig Stadler, $17,290, 70-66-72-71--279
Billy Andrade, $14,040, 68-74-70-68--280
Kaname Yokoo, $14,040, 72-67-72-69--280
Scott Gump, $14,040, 68-72-71-69--280
Lee Porter, $14,040, 71-71-69-69--280
Steve Jurgensen, $14,040, 67-71-72-70--280
Joe Durant, $10,400, 66-73-73-69--281
Keiichiro Fukabori, $10,400, 74-67-71-69--281
Jonathan Kaye, $10,400, 69-71-72-69--281
Danny Briggs, $10,400, 72-68-71-70--281
John Cook, $10,400, 68-71-71-71--281
Vijay Singh, $10,400, 67-75-68-71--281
Jay Don Blake, $10,400, 69-70-70-72--281
Dicky Pride, $10,400, 72-68-69-72--281
Ty Armstrong, $7,800, 66-71-73-72--282
Joe Ozaki, $7,800, 67-72-69-74--282
Mike Reid, $6,614, 68-71-75-69--283
David Ishii, $6,614, 72-68-73-70--283
Craig Barlow, $6,614, 66-76-71-70--283
Emlyn Aubrey, $6,614, 70-72-68-73--283
Brandel Chamblee, $6,614, 68-66-74-75--283
Rich Beem, $6,084, 71-68-74-71--284
John Daly, $6,084, 69-69-72-74--284
Robert Gamez, $5,850, 71-70-75-69--285
Jerry Kelly, $5,850, 70-71-74-70--285
Ben Bates, $5,850, 68-71-76-70--285
Tommy Armour III, $5,850, 68-70-76-71--285
Greg Meyer, $5,850, 69-71-73-72--285
Carlos Franco, $5,850, 69-69-73-74--285
Lee Rinker, $5,616, 71-70-71-74--286
Bradley Hughes, $5,616, 72-69-71-74--286
Notah Begay III, $5,616, 65-77-70-74--286
Scott Simpson, $5,460, 71-69-76-71--287
Omar Uresti, $5,460, 71-69-74-73--287
Fulton Allem, $5,460, 72-68-72-75--287
Franklin Langham, $5,356, 71-70-74-73--288
Bob Burns, $5,304, 66-74-74-75--289
Jay Williamson, $5,252, 69-73-74-74--290
Dennis Paulson, $5,200, 73-69-74-77--293
Robert Damron, $5,148, 70-71-76-82--299

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