Sony Open in Hawaii field will remain at 144
By Bill Kwon
Special to The Advertiser
The Sony Open in Hawaii will remain a tournament with a 144-player field, according to the decision Monday by the PGA Tour policy board, which deferred action on three other early season events on the 2003 schedule the Phoenix Open, Chrysler Classic at Tucson and the Nissan Open.
"The Sony Open field will be the same," said Andy Pazder, director of administration for PGA Tour competition. "We've deferred action on three other tournaments and are moving forward on four tournaments in the fall."
Four late-season events the Pennsylvania Classic, Valero Texas Open, Chrysler Greater Greensboro Open, which is moving from April to October, and the Tampa Bay Classic will be cut from 156 to 144 players in a decision prompted by a concern that players weren't finishing their rounds because of shorter daylight hours.
"It's good news," said Paul Sugimoto, executive secretary of the Aloha Section PGA, which could have lost three exempt spots for its membership if the field had been reduced to 132 players as proposed.
Ron Castillo Jr., who won the stroke-play and match-play titles, took the Aloha Section PGA player-of-the-year honors and earned an exempt spot in the Sony Open in Hawaii, Jan. 16-19, at Waialae Country Club.
The two other exempt spots are for the sectional qualifying at the Waialae on Dec. 9.
Castillo, the Hapuna head golf professional, finished with 1,005 points, well ahead of Makena's Brian Sasada, who had 885 points based on the section's seven tournaments this year.
Larry Stubblefield edged Ron Kiaaina Jr. as the senior player of the year.
Final point standings:
1, Ron Castillo Jr. 1,005; 2, Brian Sasada 885; 3, Kevin Hayashi; 770; 4, Brendan Moynahan 690; 5, Beau Yokomoto 490; 6, Kirk Nelson 460; 7, Andrew Feldmann 430; 8, Wade Nishimoto 400; 9, Lance Taketa 370; 10, David Ishii 360; 11, Matthew Hall 330; 12, Brad Bowen 295.
1, Larry Stubblefield 497.5; 2, Ron Kiaaina Jr. 473.75; 3, Mike Iyoki 430; 4, Rodney Acia 335; 5, Dennis Rose 280; 6, Steve Hookano 235; 7, Clif Council 228.75; 8, Richard Fite 160; 9, Kerry Greenwood 130; 10, Rusty Hathaway 127.5; 11, Ron Castillo Sr. 95; 12 (tie), Larry Harris and Bill Schwallie 90.