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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, January 12, 2002

SONY OPEN
Ishii, Wilson survive to play final rounds

 • Cook's sizzling 62 good for 3-stroke Sony Open lead
 • No bogeys puts money in Riley's pocket
 • Sony Open leaderboard
 • Sony Open scoreboard

By Bill Kwon
Special to The Advertiser

David Ishii, who won the Hawaiian Open in 1990, is playing in the event for the 17th consecutive year. Ishii made the cut at the Sony Open in Hawai'i with a two-round total of 140.

Eugene Tanner The Honolulu Advertiser

The Streak.

For David Ishii, it is one to remember. For Dean Wilson, it is one he's glad to forget.

The two local lads who play on the Japan PGA Tour made the cut and will play the weekend in the Sony Open in Hawai'i, the PGA Tour's first full-field event of the 2002 season.

Never mind they just barely made it — each shot a 36-hole total of 140, which was the cut-off score. They were among the 73 golfers who will continue today and tomorrow at the Waialae Country Club.

"To play this week is special," said Ishii, who is playing in the Hawaiian/Sony Open for the 18th time, including the last 17 years in a row.

"That's a long time. I didn't realize it has been that long, and I've been playing consecutively, so that's pretty good," said Ishii, who won the 1990 Hawaiian Open and has three top-10 finishes.

He was a picture of consistency with his second even-par 70 in as many days.

Wilson made it the hard way, just as he did it the hard way by qualifying on Monday to get into the $4 million tournament. His chances appeared slim after an opening-round 74. But he came back with a 4-under 66 under calmer conditions yesterday.

"I figured the cut would be about even (par), so I was trying to get 4-under and have a chance," said Wilson, finally playing in the PGA Tour event at Waialae for the first time. "I think I've tried to qualify for it five or six times and never made it."

Wilson, third on the 2001 Japan money list, was one of 11 players turning in bogey-free rounds yesterday.

"I just tried to play aggressive when I had the opportunity with short irons and a little more conservative with the long irons. Try not to make bogeys and it worked out. I didn't make a bogey," said the 32-year-old Kane'ohe native.

"I don't hold any grudges against Sony," said Wilson, who was disappointed he didn't receive a sponsor's exemption. "I've always had to earn my way. This works out better for me."

Ishii hopes he can continue his Waialae streak for at least two more years.

"I just want to try to keep playing tournaments until I get to 50, and then try the qualifying for the (PGA) Senior Tour and see what happens," said Ishii, who will be 47 in July.

Ishii, who is using a long putter for the first time, calling it a "security blanket," has two more years of exemption on the Japan tour where he is on the top-10 career money list.

Five other golfers with local ties failed to survive the cut.

Former Kailua resident Scott Simpson missed by one stroke, finishing with a 69 for a 141 total. Bogeying the first two holes both days cost Simpson, who had a deja vu experience because he missed a five-foot par putt at No. 1 and hit his tee shot into the water at No. 2 in both rounds.

"I didn't think there's any way in the world I would do it again," Simpson said. "I couldn't believe it."

Keoke Cotner, a 1989 Kamehameha Schools graduate and a Monday qualifier with Wilson, carded a 143 after shooting a 68. It will be back to the Buy.com Tour for Cotner, who might play in the Hawai'i Pearl Open before going to Australia and New Zealand, where that tour will open its 2002 season in early March.

"I thought I made good putts, but they just wouldn't go in," said Cotner, who finished in a tie for 21st the last time he played at Waialae in the 1997 Hawaiian Open.

Kevin Hayashi, the Aloha Section PGA's player of the year, and Tommy Hines posted 149s, while Kaua'i's Jonathan Ota, the lone amateur in the 142-player field, shot a 154 for 36 holes.

"I struggled, especially with my putting," Hayashi said. "I wasn't practicing much because of my injury and it hurts the short game. And this golf course exposed my short-game weakness."

"It was a great experience, but I was too nervous because it was a new experience," said Ota, who got a sponsor's exemption as the low qualifier among the players on the Governor's Cup amateur team.

"It was something to watch the pros, inside the ropes. It motivated me, and showed me what I need to do to improve my game."