Fujikawa off to solid Q-School start


Tadd Fujikawa got off to a solid start at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament’s first-stage qualifier Wednesday at St. John’s Golf & Country Club in St. Augustine, Fla.

Fujikawa, 18, of Honolulu, opened with a 4-under-par 68, good for a tie for fourth. He’s among 69 players vying for 22 spots in the next stage. Jay Haas Jr., son of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour veteran, also started solidly, with a 69, good for a tie for eighth. First-stage qualifiers are 72-hole events. There are seven being staged this week, six next week. Fujikawa is the youngest player to qualify for a U.S. Open and the second-youngest to make a cut in a PGA Tour event. He was 15 when he made it to the U.S. Open at Winged Foot and 16 when he made the cut at the Sony Open.

Miami’s Erik Compton, 29, who is pursuing his dream after two heart transplants, started well at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He opened with a 4-under-par 68 and is tied for 10th. He’s also among 69 players in that field seeking to be among the 22 advance. A year ago, playing just six months after the second heart transplant of his life, Compton missed making it to the final stage of Q-School by one shot.

Gary Nicklaus, 40, son of Jack Nicklaus, opened with a 71 at PGA Golf Club and is tied for 30th. Nicklaus, a former PGA Tour pro who regained his amateur status, is playing as an amateur. He is the vice chairman of the Nicklaus Companies. He has the option of turning pro after Q-School. Sam Saunders, grandson to Arnold Palmer, started with a 74 at PGA Golf Club and is tied for 51st.

New Zealand’s Danny Lee, 19, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champ and youngest winner of a European Tour event, was tied for 18th Tuesday with a 72 after the first round of the qualifier at Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Wednesday’s second round was interrupted by rain and is scheduled to be completed before today’s start of the third round.