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H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Saturday, January 15, 2000



Sony Open Hawaii

Past Waialae winners
staying in the hunt

Waialae Country Club welcomed home its most favored sons during yesterday's second round of the $2.9 million Sony Open.

Granted, leader Paul Azinger has never won here, but he has been close so many times the last nine years, it feels like one of those old pineapple trophies should be in his trophy case some place.

Azinger has a comfortable five-shot lead over former United Airlines Hawaiian Open winners John Huston and Jim Furyk. Huston set a PGA Tour record by going 28-under in 1998.

Furyk won here in 1996 and defending champion Jeff Sluman isn't too far off the pace at 6-under, good enough for a tie for fifth.

Throw in the fact that 1992 champion John Cook is tied for 16th at 4-under and it's easy to see these guys can play in the wind and putt on Bermuda greens.

Associated Press
Gary Nicklaus chips the ball onto the 11th green yesterday.

"Winning here would mean as much to me as all the guys behind me,'' Azinger said. "Maybe a little more for me. If I don't win, I feel secure that I'll be in the place I'm supposed to be.''

Huston went out in the morning and spent most of the day as the leader in the clubhouse at 7-under. He followed up Thursday's 66 with a 67 yesterday and conceded he liked this course.

"This is one of the courses that I play well on,'' he said. "It's a lot like Florida with the high winds and Bermuda greens. There are certain courses you like to play and this is certainly one that suits me.''

Although Furyk prefers bent-grass greens, he's particularly fond of the Bermuda variety here because they roll true and smooth. Like Huston, this course has been kind to him in the past.

"I'm sure the guys playing well here like the course,'' Furyk said. "The style of the course fits their game. Azinger and Sluman like Bermuda greens. But just because the course fits your game doesn't mean you'll play well. You still have to show up.''

Sluman showed up in Hawaii the last four days of the millennium to get his game accustomed to the ways of the island chain. He played well in the Mercedes Championships and it has carried over this week.

"I like this course because you don't necessarily have to hit it long to be successful,'' Sluman said. "I like to keep the ball low and that fits in well here, especially if the tradewinds are blowing.''

That's what the weather forecast calls for today. In fact, the breeze may be up to its highest pitch since the Sony Open began on Thursday.

"I've seen the wind blow hard here,'' said Stuart Appleby, who is also tied for second at 7-under. "But nothing like Kapalua the last two years.''

Mize has touch

Larry Mize came from way back in the back to finish in a tie for ninth with a two-day total of 135. After shooting 72 on Thursday, Mize came back to tie the Sony Open record with a 7-under 63.

Azinger had a 63 in the first round. Mize managed nine birdies and two bogeys, but still trails Azinger by seven shots.

Local yokels

The course wasn't as kind to Parker McLachlin this time around.

The only amateur in the field looked well on his way to making the cut after his opening-round 71. But yesterday, the 1997 Punahou School graduate came crashing back to earth with a 78 and won't play over the weekend.

Things were a little kinder for two of the big-name pros with local ties.

Despite shooting a 2-over 72, 1990 Hawaiian Open winner David Ishii just made the cut with an even-par 140.

Waikoloa pro Peter Jacobsen shot a rather ordinary 71 to go with his opening round of 68. Still, this year's Johnny Bellinger Shoot-Out winner survived the cut with a two-day total of 139.

Kaiser High product Aaron Bengoechea fired an even-par 70. The first-year touring pro made the cut with a two-day total of 140.

Hilo's Kevin Hayashi fired a 73 yesterday to go with his 76 during the first round to finish with a 9-over 149.

Hawaii Prince pro Tommy Hines overcame an embarrassing 80 on Thursday to post a 70 yesterday to finish at 150 . Greg Meyer of Pearl Country Club had a respectable 73, but his two-day total of 145 won't keep him around.

Nicklaus survives

Gary Nicklaus followed up his opening round of 69 with an even-par 70 to guarantee himself being around over the weekend.

In 26 previous PGA Tour events, Nicklaus survived the cut only twice. His famous father, Jack Nicklaus, isn't due to arrive in Hawaii until Tuesday for the opening event on the Senior Tour, but it's possible he could come out early if his son does well today.

By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin

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