Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, January 13, 2002

Sony Open

David Toms, tied with John Cook in second place, finished at 12-under after three rounds of the Sony Open.

Howell hopes to
break out in 2002

Last season's rookie of the year
has shot 2 strong rounds in a row

Facts & Figures

By Grady Timmons
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Charles Howell III is still a relatively new face in the world of professional golf, but at 22 years of age he already has his own Web site -- www.charles -- and is on everybody's short list of future marquee players on the PGA Tour.

The last two days at the Sony Open he has shown everyone why, blistering Waialae with a 62 on Friday and following that up with a 66 yesterday.

Afterward he said, "When you shoot low scores you get in a zone where you are not really aware of how well you are playing until you get in and add it all up. The conditions were tougher today. The wind was stronger, the pins were tucked. I really felt like I hit it better today than I did on Friday."

Howell's 66 moved him into a tie for fifth place at 10-under-par 200, just four shots back of leader Jerry Kelly. He is now within striking distance of capturing his first PGA Tour event in what he hopes will be a breakthrough 2002 season.

"My goal is to win a couple of tournaments and finish in the top 10 on the money list," he said. "I came close to winning a few times last year, and the closer I got the more I realized that winning is kind of an accident ... you just play as well as you can and put yourself in a position to win and winning takes care of itself."

Howell my not have won last year, but he still had a remarkable season. He earned his 2002 PGA Tour card by playing in PGA events via sponsors exemptions, banking just over $1.5 million and capturing Rookie of the Year honors.

He had five top 10 finishes, ranked second in greens in regulation with 73.5 percent, was third in total driving and tied for sixth in driving distance with an average of 293.9 yards per drive. His per round scoring average of 69.91 was 13th best on tour.

Numbers like that are impressive for someone so young, but great things have always been expected of Howell. He grew up around golf. In fact, he grew up right next door to the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, home of the Masters.

He started playing golf at the age of seven and won five tournaments before his 11th birthday. He shot his first sub-70 tournament round at the age of 10, the same age he began taking lessons from David Leadbetter, his longtime mentor and one of the most respected instructors in all of golf.

In college, Howell was a two-time first team All-American at Oklahoma State and won the NCAA Championship as a junior, setting the individual scoring record of 23 under par.

Last year, his best showing on Tour was a second-pace finish at the Greater Milwaukee Open, where he lost a playoff to Shigeki Maruyama.

It was at Milwaukee that Howell first realized that winning is an accident. "I had just three-putted the 12th hole in the final round to drop five back and I was so mad with myself," he said. Suddenly, he stopped trying to win and just started playing. Before he knew it, he had birdied five of the last six holes and found himself in a playoff.

"The harder you try to win, the less your chances are of winning," he said. "I think I learned a lot of patience last year. I think patience is a lot more important that I thought it would be."

Howell knows patience will be critical in today's final round at Waialae. The layout's first six holes are the toughest and most important, he said. If he can play those six holes in one or two under par, he feels he has a shot.

What will it take to win?

"I think I'll have to shoot a 63 or 64 to have a chance," he said.

There's no doubt that Howell is capable of those numbers. He proved that on Friday.


Ishii’s solid effort allows
him to keep playing

David Ishii sat in the dining room with family and friends after yesterday's third round of the Sony Open, obviously enjoying his week on the course.

The 1990 Hawaiian Open champion got under the wire Friday with a two-day 140 to make sure he was one of 73 golfers to make the even-par cut. He followed up the back-to-back 70s with a 2-over 72 entering today's final round nearer the bottom of the leaderboard, instead of the top.

No matter. Fellow local golf star Dean Wilson continued his assault on the Waialae Country Club. Like Ishii, the Kaneohe resident had a two-day total of 140, but unlike the Pearl City resident, Wilson fashioned a little drama.

He opened Thursday's round with a 74 and was in real danger of going home early, only to shoot a blistering 66 to just make the cut. He followed that up with a 67 yesterday for a solid three-day total of 207.

Joining the Japan Tour player at 3-under are such notables as Stuart Appleby and Loren Roberts, both multiple winners on tour.

New contract signed: The Sony Open and the PGA Tour are expected to announce this morning a four-year deal that will keep this long-running tournament the first full-field event of the season. Part of that deal will have the Mercedes Championships starting the year as a winners-only tournament on Maui.

PGA commissioner Tim Finchem and Sony Corporation chief executive officer Nobuyuki Idei will be on hand to announce the deal that will keep at least the same $4 million purse and possibly expand it in the future.

Gov. Ben Cayetano is also expected to attend. Sony will complete its current four-year deal today. The Japan-based company took over for United Airlines in 1999 and helped keep Hawaii as a prominent figure in professional golf.

Last week, Mercedes and the PGA Tour reached a four-year agreement in principal to keep that tournament as the first event for four more years.

Rookies gone: Of the 22 rookies in this week's event, only seven made it through to the weekend. They are Jonathan Byrd (207), Chad Campbell (211), Jess Daley (210), Luke Donald (202), Peter Lonard (207), Pat Perez (205) and Hidemichi Tanaka (208). Five of the rookies were making their first tour appearance. Perez was the only one in that group to survive through the weekend.

Bogey free: A day after the winds calmed down on a Friday that saw 11 players post bogey-free rounds, only three players turned that trick in the wind yesterday. Chris Riley extended his season-best streak to 54 holes. The other bogey-free efforts were by David Toms and Matt Kuchar.

Faxon on fire: Defending champion Brad Faxon extended his streak of rounds in the 60s to seven yesterday. Currently tied for eighth at 8-under 202, Faxon fired a 67 yesterday and briefly flirted with the lead on the front nine. He faltered some down the stretch and trails Jerry Kelly by six shots.

Stephen Ames and Fred Funk also have seven consecutive rounds in the 60s. Funk is tied with Faxon at 202 and Ames is tied for fifth at 200.

Third-round lead charm: The 54-hole leader has won two of the previous three Sony Open tournaments. Brad Faxon last year and Paul Azinger in 2000 led after three rounds and went on to win. Only Tommy Tolles didn't manage that feat in 1999.

Facts & Figures

What you need to know from yesterday's third round of the Sony Open in Hawaii:

Corey Pavin had the only bogey of the day on a hole that was the easiest one for the third consecutive round. It has surrendered only three bogeys through 54 holes.

>> Stroke average: 4.384
>> Eagles: 5
>> Birdies: 36 >> Pars: 31
>> Bogeys: 1


At Waialae Country Club
Purse: $4 million
Yardage: 7,060; Par 70

After three rounds

Jerry Kelly 66-65-65 -- 196

David Toms 68-67-63 -- 198

John Cook 66-62-70 -- 198

Jim Furyk 69-66-64 -- 199

Charles Howell III 72-62-66 -- 200

Stephen Ames 67-67-66 -- 200

Chris Riley 65-67-68 -- 200

Luke Donald 69-67-66 -- 202

Jeff Sluman 69-66-67 -- 202

Brad Faxon 68-67-67 -- 202

Robert Allenby 69-66-67 -- 202

K.J. Choi 68-65-69 -- 202

Fred Funk 68-65-69 -- 202

Brad Elder 68-64-70 -- 202

Tim Herron 71-68-64 -- 203

Mike Sposa 71-67-65 -- 203

Matt Kuchar 68-69-66 -- 203

Frank Lickliter II 68-68-67 -- 203

Scott Hoch 68-66-69 -- 203

Esteban Toledo 68-72-64 -- 204

Brian Gay 68-69-67 -- 204

Joel Edwards 70-66-68 -- 204

Jay Don Blake 69-67-68 -- 204

Kenny Perry 65-70-69 -- 204

John Huston 68-66-70 -- 204

Briny Baird 72-66-67 -- 205

Bob Burns 69-69-67 -- 205

Greg Kraft 70-67-68 -- 205

Pat Perez 68-67-70 -- 205

David Peoples 72-68-66 -- 206

Tommy Armour III 68-70-68 -- 206

Rich Beem 68-69-69 -- 206

Sergio Garcia 71-66-69 -- 206

Scott Dunlap 71-66-69 -- 206

Tom Lehman 70-66-70 -- 206

Corey Pavin 69-66-71 -- 206

Cameron Beckman 67-67-71 -- 207

Dean Wilson 74-66-67 -- 207

Hiroyuki Fujita 70-70-67 -- 207

Loren Roberts 71-68-66 -- 207

Stuart Appleby 70-69-68 -- 207

Peter Lonard 70-68-69 -- 207

Chris Smith 69-67-71 -- 207

Jonathan Byrd 67-68-72 -- 207

Michael Allen 70-65-72 -- 207

Len Mattiace 68-67-72 -- 207

Andrew Magee 68-72-68 -- 208

Hidemichi Tanaka 70-69-69 -- 208

Jim Carter 69-69-70 -- 208

Steve Elkington 69-69-70 -- 208

Bob Heintz 70-67-71 -- 208

Joe Durant 68-69-71 -- 208

John Riegger 70-70-69 -- 209

Fred Couples 70-70-69 -- 209

Bob May 70-70-69 -- 209

John Rollins 69-70-70 -- 209

Ian Leggatt 71-67-71 -- 209

Lee Porter 71-66-72 -- 209

Jesper Parnevik 66-71-72 -- 209

Jay Haas 68-68-73 -- 209

Jess Daley 72-68-70 -- 210

Brent Geiberger 70-70-70 -- 210

Phil Tataurangi 67-72-71 -- 210

Shigeki Maruyama 70-66-74 -- 210

Brent Schwarzrock 72-68-71 -- 211

Richard Zokol 71-67-73 -- 211

Chad Campbell 71-65-75 -- 211

David Ishii 70-70-72 -- 212

Gary Nicklaus 69-70-73 -- 212

David Gossett 69-68-75 -- 212

David Sutherland 70-68-75 -- 213

Dudley Hart 72-68-74 -- 214

Tom Scherrer 70-69-77 -- 216

Today's Tee Times
7:57 a.m.: Tom Scherrer
8:05 a.m.: David Sutherland, Dudlry Hart
8:13 a.m.: Gary Nicklaus, David Gosset
8:21 a.m.: Chad Campbell, David Ishii
8:29 a.m.: Brent Swartzrock, Richard Zokol
8:37 a.m.: Paul Tatsurangi, Shigeki Maruyama
8:45 a.m.: Jess Daley, Brent Gelberger
8:53 a.m.: Jesper Parnevik, Jay Haas
9:01 a.m.: Ian Leggatt, Lee Porter
9:09 a.m.: Bob May, John Rollins
9:17 a.m.: John Riegger, Fred Couples
9:25 a.m.: Bib Heinz, Joe Durant
9:33 a.m.: Jim Carter, Steve Elkington
9:41 a.m.: Andrew Magee, Hidemichi Tanaka
9:49 a.m.: Michael Allen, Len Mattiace
9:57 a.m.: Chris Smith, Jonathan Boyd
10:05 a.m.: Stuart Appleby, Peter Leonard
10:13 a.m.: Hiroyuki Fujita, Loren Roberts
10:21 a.m.: Cameron Beckman, Dean Wilson
10:29 a.m.: Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin
10:37 a.m.: Sergio Garcia, Scott Dunlap
10:45 a.m.: Tommy Armour III, Rich Beem
10:54 a.m.: Pat Perez, David Peoples
11:03 a.m.: Bob Burns, Greg Kraft
11:12 a.m.: John Huston, Briny Baird
11:21 a.m.: Jay Don Blake, Kenny Perry
11:30 a.m.: Brian Gay, Joel Edwards
11:39 a.m.: Scott Hoch, Esteban Toledo
11:48 a.m.: Matt Kuchar, Frank Lickliter II
11:57 a.m.: Tim Herron, Mike Sposa
12:06 p.m.: Fred Funk, Brad Elder
12:15 p.m.: Robert Allenby, K.J. Choi
12:24 p.m.: Jeff Sluman, Brad Faxon
12:33 p.m.: Chris Riley, Luke Donald
12:42 p.m.: Charles Howell III, Stephen Ames
12:51 p.m.: John Cook, Jim Furyk
1 p.m.: Jerry Kelly, David Toms

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