Maggert, Sluman teams tie for Pro-Am win
Jeff Maggert and Jeff Sluman's teams tied for first in Wednesday's Pro-Am of the 2002 Sony Open in Hawai'i at Waialae Country Club.
Both teams finished at 16-under-par 54.
Maggert's amateur teammates were Dennis Francis, Jim Smith, Michael Wo and Russell Wong. Sluman's teammates were Yoshiko Morita, Kiichi Nakai, Hiroshi Kimura and Kazuhisa Ishii, a pitcher for the Yakult Swallows in Japan's pro leagues.
The Los Angeles Dodgers picked up the rights to Ishii, a 28-year-old left-hander, Wednesday.
Sluman and Maggert earned $1,800 each. The total purse was $10,000.
The team of Frank Lickliter shot 55 and finished third. Lickliter earned $1,400.
Easy call: A $2 million guarantee made it easy for Tiger Woods to decide to play in the New Zealand Open instead of the Sony Open in Hawai'i, which are both taking place this week.
For Phil Tataurangi, a New Zealand native playing Waialae this week without benefit of a guarantee, the choice was harder.
"It wasn't an easy one," said Tataurangi, who was tied for sixth place at a 3-under par 67 , two strokes back of co-leaders Chris Riley and Ken Perry after yesterday's opening round.
"It (the New Zealand Open) is quite a big deal in New Zealand but its not a big deal on the world stage. It is a chance to play in front of family, friends and supporters and means a lot to me."
But after sitting out a year with injuries and then going through qualifying school to regain his PGA Tour card, the opportunity to get a good, quick start in the U.S. this year helped Tataurangi make his decision.
"That was important to me," Tataurangi said. "I talked to those people who mattered at home and they gave me their endorsement. There was a little bit (of heat) from some people, but not from those that mattered."
Said Tataurangi: "They got Tiger, they have a good tournament, so it all kind of worked out for everybody."
Early jitters: The Sony is the first full-field event of the PGA Tour this year and for some golfers, such as co-leader Chris Riley, that means overcoming some opening jitters.
"I'm always nervous on the first (tournament)," he said. "My rookie year here in 1999 I got on up the first tee and hit it out of bounds (and) into the driving range. I don't know what it is, I just get nervous."
Jerry Kelly on his three-putt on the sixth hole: "I misread the grain up by the hole, went by the hole about 10 feet. No offense, but I looked like you guys (the media) out there."
Can't beat them: Asked about what kind of competition he played in November, Chris Riley, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas graduate, said:
"Just the craps tables of Vegas. But you never win in Vegas."