Wie at Home Hes at Winged Foot

By George WhiteJune 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
This Asian-American golfer is on the smallish side at 5-feet-1 and weighs in at 135 pounds. But those prodigious drives are launched to 280-285 yards. And at only 15 years of age, this Hawaiian is extremely lucky to be alive at all, after being born prematurely at a weight of 1 pound 15 ounces.
Sounds like it could be any of several women who played last week at the McDonalds LPGA Championship. But Tadd Fujikawa is not a woman. He is male, yes he is short of stature, yes he is only 15, and yes he was beaten last month by Michelle Wie. But he is about to play in the U.S. Open, playing in a traditionally male tournament where a male of his age and stature only rarely make an appearance.
Tadd Fujikawa
Tadd Fujikawa fields questions from reporters Tuesday at Winged Foot.
Tadd was on the Open range Monday whacking a few drives beside Thomas Bjorn. I hit one, said Tadd, and he was, like, Whoa, that was kind of loud!
When youre 5-feet-1 and only 15, such comments are heady, indeed. To Tadd Fujikawa, it is doubly so. Especially when he finished no better than third in his local qualifier in Hawaii.
The winner of that local, incidentally, was a girl by the name of Wie, a 16-year-old who towers over Tadd by a full 12 inches. Wie, incidentally, missed qualifying at the sectional in New Jersey. Fujikawa, incidentally, went to the sectional in Hawaii as a result of finishing in the top three in his state (he sank a 65-foot putt to settle a three-way deadlock for third). And in the Hawaii sectional, with Wie gone to the sectional in New Jersey because she would be playing McDonalds in Maryland later that week ' Tadd won.
I think it's awesome! Wie said. I think it's great that he played really well in the sectional. I didn't really hear much about it. But I think it's awesome that as young as he is - how old is he? Like 15? 15? I think it's awesome.
Of course, Michelle Wie is the first name and last name of golf in Hawaii, and when she took her clubs and headed to New Jersey for the sectional, everyone who survived the local qualifier breathed much easier.
Yeah, I definitely felt my chances of qualifying would be better (with Wie gone), said Tadd. She's a great player.
But Tadd is the one who made it to Winged Foot, and now he might even get the ultimate prize ' no, not a U.S. Open championship, but a chance to play a practice round with Tiger Woods. Not bad at all for a 15-year-old.
This kid is not afraid to go for the top. He concedes that it may not happen ' he is not sure of Tigers plans, he said. But ' hes signed up to play with him.
Actually when I registered, at 7:00 o'clock, I needed to tee off early on the last day (Wednesday) because I needed to pick up my coach from the airport, he said. I looked at the first tee time right away and I saw Tiger's name. And there were two other people, I'm really not sure who, but I specifically remember Tiger's name up there.
I thought about it, and I went outside, and they said, Go for it. This is the chance of a lifetime. No one else is probably going to do this.

I said, You know what - I'll do that. I went back and luckily no one had filled their name in yet, so I put my name down. I don't know, we'll have a lot of fun tomorrow.
Well, bright lights, big city, as they say. Everything about this experience is turning up aces for young Tadd.
I think that it's really something special that I'm actually here, alive, not only at the U.S. Open, but just talking to everybody, and I guess being alive right now. I really think that it's ' I'm really grateful for that, he said.
Thankful for being alive? Yes, he is, especially coming from the place he was in, a premature hospital ward weighing less than two pounds.
I was born three and a half months premature I think the doctors said that I had probably a 50 percent chance of living, he said.
Tadd Fujikawa made it, hes going strong at 15 years of age, and is now on the verge of teeing off in the U.S. Open. And for a young man who is only 5-foot-1, that is a tremendous accomplishment. Its not the size of the man in the U.S. Open, its the size of the heart in the man.
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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook played a six-hole stretch in 6 under and shot an 8-under 64 in breezy conditions Saturday to take the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook began the run at La Quinta Country Club with birdies on Nos. 4-5, eagled the sixth and added birdies on No. 7 and 9 to make the turn in 6-under 30.

After a bogey on the 10th, he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 15 and saved par on the 18th with a 20-footer to take a 19-under 197 total into the final round on PGA West's Stadium Course. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player is making his first start in the event. He won at Sea Island in November for his first PGA Tour title.

Fellow former Razorbacks star Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were a stroke back. Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 on the Stadium Course. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. They are both winless on the PGA Tour.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Jon Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium Course to reach 17 under. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3, Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

Scott Piercy also was two strokes back after a 66 at the Stadium.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and Harkins shot 68 on the Stadium Course.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium Course to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time.

The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. The Southern California recruit had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over for the week.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine – and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.