Ishii seeks Senior Open title
|||Busy days are ahead for state's top players|
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Ann Miller
If this is the 2006 U.S. Senior Open, it must be rough — long, rugged rough. Hawai'i's David Ishii will do his best to stay out of the rough when he tees off today in the first round at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
Ishii is the latest — at nearly 51, oldest — Hawai'i golfer to play in an Open the past three weeks. Tadd Fujikawa, 15, was the youngest ever to play at the U.S. Open. Michelle Wie, Stephanie Kono and Ayaka Kaneko — all 16, and Kimberly Kim, 14, were in the U.S. Women's Open.
Kevin Ralbovsky, who coaches Fujikawa and Kono, saw a dramatic difference in the surroundings.
"Although Tadd hits the ball real well he still doesn't hit it as well as top PGA Tour players," Ralbovsky said. "On the girls side, I think the juniors hit it every bit as far and well as some LPGA stars. Stephanie out-drove Paula Creamer every hole in the practice round. You wouldn't see Tadd doing that to Retief Goosen."
Ishii believes the difference from the PGA Tour to the Champions is similar.
"It doesn't intimidate me as much ...," he said. "Out here they all hit about the same distance. Some guys are still strong and long, but that's not the norm. The norm on the regular tour is everybody is long now and you're in the minority if you're not."
Reach Ann Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.