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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 13, 2006

Japan's Maruyama reigns at Pearl Open

By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer

Maruyama

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'AIEA Tomohiro Maruyama appeared out of the mist and the Japan Golf Tour Organization to win the 28th annual Hawai'i Pearl Open yesterday at Pearl Country Club.

Maruyama caught second-round leader Andy Barnes at 13-under on the 11th. A storm started on the next hole. He slipped back a shot at No. 13, in the hardest rain of the day.

From then on, the rain was Maruyama's friend and so was Pearl a place he has come to "tweak" his game in the offseason for more than a decade without winning, until now. He drained birdie putts on the next three holes, seizing the lead for good on the 15th and padding it from 23 feet out on the 16th.

The cushion allowed him to play the final two birdie-friendly holes in even par and still win by two over Barnes (71), a 28-year-old mini-tour player from Arizona, and 42-year-old Minnesota pro Don Berry (68).

Maruyama, 47, closed with a 5-under-par 67 the day's low round and a tournament total of 201. He has played with Hawai'i's David Ishii, 50, for 20 years in Japan, where his success has been steady, like his game, if not spectacular.

The 65 that put him into contention Saturday was one off his career low. The $12,000 he collected yesterday was about $2.75 million less than his career earnings in Japan, where he has three wins.

Ishii has won Pearl, played on his home course, six times. He appeared just as pleased yesterday when birdies on the last two holes pulled him into a share of fourth with Joseph Summerhays, a Utah pro whose father, Bruce, plays on the Champions Tour.

"I expected nothing and this is my best finish at Pearl in 10 or 15 years," said Ishii, whose last win here was in 1991. "I didn't hit the ball too good, but I made some putts. Maybe if you hit the ball crooked, you putt better."

Barnes' bogey on the final hole let Berry rise above his third straight third-place finish here.

"The first two days I rolled it really good and made some putts," Barnes said. "Today I didn't make anything.

"Tomo ... it (the hole) just looked like a bucket to him, I guess. On the back nine he made everything."

Yuki Ito, 18, from Japan, defended his low amateur title.

NOTES

The first Hawai'i Deaf Golf Camp will be today and tomorrow at Ko'olau Golf Club. The camp, run in American Sign Language, goes from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. The camps teach deaf children golf fundamentals and give them insight into the game's values. Each camp provides scholarships through corporate donations so students have no expense. Campers are invited by organizers. The instructor is pro Rob Strano, who is executive director of the U.S. Deaf Golf Association.

Reach Ann Miller at amiller@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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