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Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, January 18, 2001

S O N Y_ O P E N _ H A W A I I

Sony Open Hawaii

Associated Press
Tommy Kim had never shot under par in his life
until Monday's Sony Open qualifier. Now, he's
competing against top pros at Waialae.

Kim breaks
two barriers

The Maui resident shoots
under par for the first time
to qualify for the Sony Open

Tee times
Hayashi leads at Waimea

By Bill Kwon

The working title can be called the Legend of Tommy Kim. But even Hollywood won't buy this story.

Kim, a 26-year-old local amateur, has only watched the stars of the PGA Tour on television. He hasn't even shot a round under par in his life.

That is, until Monday's qualifying for the $4 million Sony Open starting today at the Waialae Country Club.

Kim shot a 5-under 67 -- a stroke better than three other pros who qualified, including 1990 Hawaiian Open champion David Ishii -- and finds himself inside the ropes, trying to match pars and birdies with the PGA's best.

Every tour event has a whodaguy or two. Kim's the ultimate whodaguy. Even local golf fans have hardly heard of him.

Talk about surprise.

Even Kim was surprised

"I'm in awe of the guys I'm around," said Kim, who was on the practice range Tuesday while Scott Simpson was winning the Johnny Bellinger Shoot-Out.

"Even in my wildest dreams, I never expected this," Kim added. "I felt like I've done the impossible."

Associated Press
Paul Azinger will defend his title in the Sony Open,
which begins today at the Waialae Country Club.

He posted seven birdies and two bogeys in qualifying at the Pearl Country Club. He played with PGA pro Dick Mast, Regan Lee and Beau Yokomoto. The two local pros gave him added encouragement.

"It's my best score yet and it came an at opportune time," said Kim, whose previous claim to fame is that of being a two-time state long-drive champion.

"I tell everyone that long-drive contests and tournament golf are very different. They're miles apart. These guys out here can chip and putt.

"First thing everyone asks long-drive guys are, 'Yeah, but can you putt?'

"Fortunately, I made some putts. That was the key."

Not bad for someone who was so frustrated that he almost quit golf after taking it up less than three years ago.

A former baseball player at Kaiser High School, University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University, Kim got interested in golf three years ago because of his father, Don, who has the Haagen-Dazs franchise in Hawaii.

"He was breaking all my clubs, so I had him fitted for his own clubs," Don Kim said.

While meeting with local Titleist distributor Les Tamashiro in March 1998, a national representative from the company saw Kim's clubhead speed. He suggested Kim to try competing in long-drive contests.

Five months later, Kim became the state champion, representing Hawaii in the World Long-Drive Championships in Nevada.

In 1999, he played in his first tournament, the Mid-Pac Open. That summer he reached the semifinals of the Manoa Cup before losing to Brandan Kop.

Kim still wasn't able to shoot par. But he still worked at his game. With the support of his father, he went to golf schools on the mainland conducted by Butch Harmon and Dave Pelz.

Still, very few results. It got to the point where he was ready to quit golf last May. But he decided to give it another serious try.

He moved to Maui two months ago, golfing days and working nights. Kim also started working with Roger Fredericks at his Kaanapali Golf College with an emphasis on stretching and strength exercises.

"I've been working with him ever since and it totally has changed my game," Kim said. "I've gone from a 7-handicap to a 1."

And playing in the Sony Open.

"Unfortunately, I haven't played Waialae very often. But I'd like to play all four days."

SONY NOTEBOOK: Four teams, led by pros Steve Lowery, Billy Andrade, Fred Funk and Skip Kendall, shot 18-under-par 52s to tie for first in yesterday's pro-am at Waialae. ... In the satellite pro-am at Kapolei, the winners were pro Esteban Toledo and amateurs Francis Lee, Henry Chong, Jimmy Dominguez and Gary Oda.

Bullet Where: Waialae Country Club
Bullet When: Today through Sunday
Bullet Who: 144 PGA Tour golfers
Bullet Defending champion: Paul Azinger
Bullet Purse: $4 million ($720,000 first prize)
Bullet Tickets: $10 today and tomorrow; $15 Saturday and Sunday
Bullet TV: Today and tomorrow, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (USA); Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (CBS)

 | | |

Tee times

At Waialae Country Club
Starting times for Friday, Jan. 19

First tee
7:20 a.m.
--Peter Jacobsen, Joel Edwards, Jimmy Green. 7:29--David Peoples, Mike Hulbert, Joe Ogilvie. 7:38--Skip Kendall, Len Mattiace, Scott Dunlap.
7:47--Jim Furyk, Jim Carter, J.L.Lewis. 7:56--Tom Pernice, Jr., Jeff Maggert, Craig Stadler. 8:05--Dudley Hart, Brian Henninger, Jeff Sluman.
8:14--Joe Durant, Tommy Armour III, Jerry Smith. 8:23--Neal Lancaster, Frank Lickliter II, Franklin Langham. 8:32--Hunter Haas, J.J. Henry, Bobby Kalinowski.
8:41--John Riegger, Rocky Walcher, Danny Ellis. 8:50--David Ishii, Tim Clark, Paul Gow. 8:59--Spike McRoy, Geoff Ogilvy, Andrew McLardy.
11:45--Brandel Chamblee, Jerry Kelly, Sean Murphy. 11:54--Fred Funk, Greg Chalmers, Doug Barron. 12:03 p.m.--Russ Cochran, Bob Burns, Jeff Gallagher.
12:12--Rory Sabbatini, Loren Roberts, Tom Scherrer. 12:21--Duffy Waldorf, Notah Begay III, Ted Tryba. 12:30--John Cook, David Love III, John Daly.
12:39--Michael Clark II, Vijay Singh, Steve Jones. 12:48--Jay Don Blake, Edward Fryatt, Brian Gay. 12:57--Michael Muehr, Emanuele Canonica, Jim M. Johnson.
1:06--Craig Barlow, Kaname Yokoo, Matt Kuchar. 1:15--Fred Wadsworth, Steve Allan, Brian Sasada. 1:24--K.J. Choi, Briny Baird, Keiichiro Fukabori.

Tenth tee
7:20 a.m.
--Shigeki Maruyama, Harrison Frazar, Lee Porter. 7:29--Larry Mize, Bob May, Glen Hnatiuk. 7:38--Naomichi Joe Ozaki, Jay Williamson, David Berganio, Jr.
7:47--Steve Lowery, Scott Simpson, Corey Pavin. 7:56--Jesper Parnevik, Tom Lehman, Chris Perry. 8:05--Billy Andrade, Brad Faxon, Dennis Paulson.
8:14--Paul Goydos, Stephen Ames, Chris Riley. 8:23--Tom Byrum, Craig Parry, Tommy Tolles. 8:32--Cliff Kresge, Chris Tidland, Brandan Kop.
8:41--Per-Ulrik Johansson, Kelly Grunewald, Nobuhito Sato. 8:50--Kent Jones, Jason Gore, Ryuji Imada. 8:59--Craig Perks, Tripp Isenhour, Jeremy Anderson.
11:45--Pete Jordan, Shaun Michael, Gary Nicklaus. 11:54--Bill Glasson, Greg Kraft, Esteban Toledo. 12:03 p.m.--Woody Austin, Bradley Hughes, Robin Freeman.
12:12--Chris DiMarco, Olin Browne, Stuart Appleby. 12:21--Robert Allenby, Carlos Franco, Paul Azinger. 12:30--Garrett Willis, John Huston, Rich Beem.
12:39--Ernie Els, Stewart Cink, Andrew Magee. 12:48--Carl Paulson, Chris Smith, Mathew Goggin. 12:57--Mark Hensby, Ian Leggatt, Tommy Kim.
1:06--David Morland IV, Kevin Johnson, Douglas Bohn. 1:15--Richie Coughlan, Brian Wilson, Matthew Hall. 1:24--Cameron Beckman, Ben Ferguson, Hidemichi Tanaka.

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Hayashi retains
lead at Waimea

Hilo resident Kevin Hayashi, the reigning Hawaii State Open champion, shot a 68 in the second round to hang onto the lead midway through the Pro Tour Hawaii event at Waimea Country Club yesterday. Hayashi opened the four-round, $100,000 golf tournament with a course-record 63 on Tuesday.

The 68 gave him a two-round total of 13-under par.

Richard Barcelo of Arizona, a former Nike Tour player and the reigning California State Open champion, shot a 66 yesterday to close the deficit to two shots.

Bill Kwon, Star-Bulletin

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