Sports Notebook

Hawaii’s participants
don’t make the cut

By Paul Arnett

The seven local golfers who teed it up Thursday for the Sony Open in Hawaii have one thing in common -- none survived the even-par 140 cut.

Not that they didn't try. After shooting an opening-round 73, Waikele's Regan Lee followed it up with a solid 69 yesterday and said he had several shots at going even lower, but didn't take advantage of all his opportunities.

"It's such a fine line out here," Lee said. "I could have scored better, but I was still happy with my round. This was a great opportunity for me. Some of the putts I needed to go a couple of strokes lower didn't fall. But for the first time out here in the Sony, I felt pretty good."

That wouldn't be an apt description for former Kaneohe resident Dean Wilson. The 33-year-old graduate of Brigham Young finally got his PGA Tour card, only to fritter away his chance of surviving the cut on a course he knows all too well. Wilson opened with a 74 and, like Lee, came back with a solid 69 yesterday. But he still fell three shots shy of surviving the cut.

"I just don't putt that well on these (Bermuda) greens," said Wilson, who now calls Las Vegas home for tax purposes. "I had some good, solid holes on my first nine, but those six bogeys in a row I had on Thursday killed me."

Before rejoining the tour, Wilson will take a couple of weeks to work on his game. His best career finish on tour remains his tie for 23rd at the Sony Open last year.

The other five players with local ties struggled as well. Douglas Bohn followed his 79 on Thursday with a 76 yesterday to finish at 15-over 155. Ron Castillo had a 75 yesterday for a 153 total and Kirk Nelson followed his solid 73 on Thursday with a 9-over 79. Amateurs Royden Heirakuji and Joe Phengsavath missed the cut as well. Heirakuji had a 78 yesterday for a 158 total while Phengsavath followed his 76 with another 76.

"It just makes me want to come out here and try it again," an elated Phengsavath said. "I had a blast out here."

Surviving rookies: Of the 23 rookies in this week's first full-field event on tour, 11 made it through to the weekend. One of them was Aaron Baddeley, who shares the lead with Retief Goosen after the second round at 10-under 130. Akio Sadakata was the only one of the group to make the cut in his first event.

Surviving veterans: Seven of the 10 past champions competing in the Sony Open managed to survive the cut. They are John Cook (135), Brad Faxon (140), Jim Furyk (134), John Huston (137), Jerry Kelly (136), Corey Pavin (135) and Jeff Sluman (136).

One past winner who didn't make it was the ever-popular Paul Azinger, who won here in 2000. He shot an even-par 70 for a two-day total of 142, missing the cut by two shots. Last year, 73 golfers survived the cut at 140. This year, that number was 77.

Seven players have survived the cut in all five Sony Opens in Hawaii. They are Cook, Furyk, Huston, Kelly, Sluman, Esteban Toledo and Stuart Appleby. Five of those golfers have won this event before.

Still around: Some 28 of the 36 golfers taking part in the winners-only Mercedes Championships decided to come over and play in the Sony Open. After the second round, three of those golfers, Goosen, Ernie Els and Chris DiMarco, are in the top five. In fact, 18 of the 28 survived the cut.

Not among them is grand-slam man Rich Beem. The defending PGA Championship winner from El Paso, Texas, shot a 141, missing the cut by one shot.

Withdraws: Cliff Kresge withdrew from the Sony Open yesterday after 13 holes due to asthma. He opened with a 73 on Thursday and was 1-over on the backside yesterday, but opted not to continue four holes into the front when it was obvious he would not make the cut.

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