Notes 15-Year-Old Has a Ball Despite Shooting 81

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U.S. OpenMAMARONECK, N.Y. -- The kid wore a big smile, even after shooting an 81 that didnt include a single birdie. Tadd Fujikawa made history at the U.S. Open on Thursday, and it had nothing to do with a lackluster round that included three double bogeys.
 
The USGA initially said the Hawaii high-schooler would be the second-youngest player to participate in an Open, behind only Tyrell Garth Jr., who played in 1941.
 
But after contacting Garth at his home in Texas on Wednesday, the USGA had to amend the record book. Turns out Garth was 15 years, 11 months and 27 days when he played. Thats actually older than Fujikawa, who is 15 years, 6 months, 7 days.
 
Tadd Fujikawa
Tadd Fujikawa became the youngest player to tee it up in the history of the U.S. Open.
Fujikawa, who stands 5-foot-1 and weighs about 135 pounds, officially put his name in the record book when he teed off at 9:12 a.m.
 
He four-putted No. 1 en route to a double bogey and added three more 6s after that before walking off the course with absolutely no complaints.
 
It was a lot of fun out there, actually, he said. I hit a lot of great shots. I think I missed a couple of drives that cost me a couple of double bogeys, (but) my score didnt really tell how my day went.
 
The point was that he was a 15-year-old playing in the U.S. Open, and that in itself was reason to be proud.
 
Just being here and having the crowd behind you and supporting you, its a really good feeling, he said. Its the U.S. Open, so I better have fun. No matter what I shoot, Ill have fun.
 
Fujikawa said he wasnt nervous, even though hed never before played in front of so many people or in such a prestigious tournament.
 
His mother hung around well after the round and said Tadd wished hed done better.
 
But hes not down or anything, Lori Fujikawa said. He just wants to get out there tomorrow and try again.
 
NO SENIOR DISCOUNT
At a time when he could be thinking about getting ready for the Champions Tour, John Cook is playing with the determination of a man half his age.
 
The 48-year-old Cook shot an impressive 1-over 71, making four birdies in one of the best rounds of the day.
 
Someone wondered why hes trying so hard to hone his game, when no one would blame him if he coasted until his 50th birthday.
 
If Im going to try and be competitive on the Champions Tour, Id better be good because I certainly dont want to go out there and just walk around and finish 40th every week, he said.
 
Cook hates losing, and he has no desire to embarrass himself by entering a tournament without the proper mind-set'or preparation.
 
Ive been competitive all my life, and Ive beat a lot of those guys a lot of times. Im not going to go out there and sleepwalk my way through it, he insisted. Youd better bring a lot of game with you or theyre going to beat your brains in.
 
Cook sure brought his game.
 
I made some quality birdies, he said. I had some opportunities for more, but theres just not much out there.
 
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
The number on Thomas Bjorns scorecard was a routine 4 on the par-4 11th hole. It was far from routine, though.
 
Bjorn blocked his tee shot so far to the right that it went beyond the rough and into the gallery. It struck a waist-high boulder and caromed another 40 yards to the right under a tree. Bjorn couldnt play out under the limbs because he faced 50 yards of mangled grass, so he hit a wedge and hoped for the best, and the ball stopped in the first cut on the opposite side of the fairway.
 
His third shot was almost as bad as the first, right and well short of the green. Bjorn hung his head as he walked to the ball. But all was well when he chipped across the green and the ball banged the flag and disappeared for par.
 
At this point, Bjorn started laughing. He finished with a 72.
 
LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD
Andrew Svoboda has been playing Winged Foot since he was 10, but all that experience couldnt have prepared him for what he faced in his first U.S. Open.
 
As the first player to tee off at No. 1, he received applause that compared to the ovation Phil Mickelson received an hour later at No. 10.
 
It was something when they announced my name, and then there was such a loud cheer, he said. That definitely got my heart going.
 
The 26-year-old Svoboda figures he averaged 150 rounds a year at Winged Foot while growing up. That proved of little help in the first round of the Open, when he made nine bogeys and four birdies en route to a 75.
 
A lot of those pins we dont play in member play, thats for sure, he said.
 
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