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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 21, 2006

GOLF REPORT
Here's wishing more success for next year

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Moanalua sophomore Tadd Fujikawa will play in the PGA's Sony Open in Hawai'i three days after his 16th birthday.

ADVERTISER LIBRARY PHOTO | June 16, 2006

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Christmas came early for Tadd Fujikawa, who won the lone amateur sponsor's exemption for next month's Sony Open in Hawai'i by posting the low round of the day at Waialae Country Club on Monday.

Still, it wasn't an early Christmas gift, he said. "It's more like a late birthday present."

Fujikawa will tee it up in the first full-field event of the 2007 PGA season three days after his 16th birthday.

No, he won't be the youngest ever to play in a PGA Tour event. That distinction belongs to Michelle Wie, who was 14 when she played in the 2004 Sony Open.

Still, a lot of national attention will be focused on the Moanalua High School sophomore just as it had been last summer at Winged Foot when he became the youngest player in the 106-year history of the U.S. Open.

So, in going over my Christmas wish list for golfers everywhere, the first goes to Tadd Fujikawa: Start off a greater year by making the cut in the 2007 Sony Open.

Michelle Wie: Win the Fields Open in Hawai'i at Ko Olina for your first LPGA victory and quiet the critics. Better yet, accept a sponsor's exemption to the LPGA season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay and win that, too.

Kimberly Kim: Successfully defend the U.S. Women's Amateur title and make the cut in the your LPGA debut in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay, where your winning trophy will be on display.

Casey Watabu: Be the first from Hawai'i to survive the cut in the Masters.

Dean Wilson: A better 2007 than the breakthrough year you just had with your first PGA victory and $2.5 million in earnings. Start with a win at Waialae.

Parker McLachlin: A big paycheck in the Sony Open en route to keeping your tour card by being among the top 125 money winners.

Kevin Hayashi: No "Uncle Kevin" baby-sitting role to preoccupy you from making the cut in the Sony Open along with the other keiki o ka'aina in the field.

David Ishii: A big payday in the Turtle Bay Championship to open up more playing opportunities on the Champions Tour.

Sony Open officials: Hope you can get more bang for your buck by Tiger Woods showing up at Waialae at least once during all the years of sponsoring the event. Also, seeing Michelle being paired with John Daly and both making it to the weekend in 2007.

Gary Planos: Having Phil Mickelson show up for a change at Kapalua to play in the Mercedes-Benz Championship.

Brandan Kop: A fifth Manoa Cup title.

Ayaka Kaneko: Successfully Monday-qualify for the Sony Open and join Michelle as the second wahine in next month's field.

Stephanie Kono: A third straight Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls' title and bigger successes in national events.

Chan Kim, Cyd Okino, Bradley Shigezawa, Lorens Chan and Alexandra Kaui: You're the next wave of young guns. Just keep improving.

Paul Sugimoto, Aloha Section PGA executive director: Getting a title sponsor for one of the section's majors, the stroke-play championship.

Earl Tamiya: Continued success for the UH-Hilo golf program.

People of Kaua'i: Return of the PGA Grand Slam to the Po'ipu Bay Golf Course.

Mark Rolfing: More main announcing roles for the Golf Channel. You're so much better than new face, Nick Faldo.

Riley Wallace: A lower handicap so that you can give me more strokes.

Judge Jim Burns: A higher handicap so that you don't have to give me stroke a hole.

Casey Nakama, Guy Yamamoto, Jay Hinazumi, Ronn Miyashiro, Don Hirata and Ann Miller: Getting your first hole-in-one.

Mary Bea Porter-King: Success in lobbying the PGA of America of which you're only one of two independent directors nationally for the return of the PGA Grand Slam back to your home island of Kaua'i.

Fittingly, I'd like to end by quoting Mary Bea, who came up with the golf quote of the year when she was among those being honored by the Aloha Section PGA last Sunday:

"The world would be a better place if everyone was a golfer."