Wilson hopes to get on roll at Waialae Palmer, Allenby in lead
BY BILL KWON
Special to The Advertiser
And then there was only one Survivor Hawai'i — Dean Wilson.
Of the six local golfers who started the 2010 Sony Open in Hawai'i, the seven-year PGA Tour veteran from Kāne'ohe is the last man standing in today's final round.
Wilson is not as high on the leaderboard as he would have liked, but at least he's still around with a shot at a top-10 finish after shooting a 1-under-par 69 for a 54-hole score of 207.
"It seems like I kind of moved backwards. I've got to go out and play like Paul Goydos (on Friday) and shoot a 7-under to get myself in contention," said Wilson, who's four strokes out of the top 10 and eight behind co-leaders Ryan Palmer and Robert Allenby.
"I can do it if I can just get the shots a little closer, be a little more precise with my putt and get some breaks. It's out there to shoot some good scores."
It wasn't there for Wilson yesterday. "Didn't seem to get the putts in. Played OK, had some good opportunities but didn't get it close enough — always about 15, 18 feet — (which are) tough to make out here."
Wilson did bomb two putts from long range for two of his three birdies — a 25-footer at No. 5 and a 30-footer at the par-3 17th.
"It was nice to roll that putt in," he said about the latter. "That's a tough hole, pin's all the way back. It was nice to make that in front of the crowd there. They were all pumped up."
But again he couldn't cash in on Waialae's par 5s (Nos. 9 and 18), the two easiest scoring holes.
"I know, yeah, same old thing, except those are tough holes," said Wilson, who played them only one-under the first three days. He missed an 11-footer for birdie at 9 and an 8-footer at the closing hole.
"I haven't been able to take advantages of the par 5s. I'm pretty sure the guy that wins this week is going to be a lot under on the par 5s."
After this week's sponsor's exemption to the Sony Open, Wilson's travel plans are open.
"I'm going to play in as many (tournaments) as I can get," said Wilson, who only has a past champion's status after losing his tour card. "I'm going to try to Monday qualify (at San Diego, Los Angeles and Phoenix). Hopefully play some events in Japan, some of the tournaments that I won. You have a 10-year exemption to play in those. Maybe a few Nationwide. It's all up in the air."
Wherever the travels take him, Wilson will have his trusty, 20-something-year-old beryllium Ping-2 Eye 2 lob wedge in his golf bag.
Under a new USGA regulation, square grooved clubs are out. But old Ping wedges, like Wilson's, remain legal because of a lawsuit Ping filed against the USGA. Under the settlement, any Ping-Eye 2 made before April 1, 1990, remains approved under the Rules of Golf.
So Wilson's Ping wedge is grandfathered in and he's happy about it. But not fellow golfer Bob Estes, who told a writer here doing a report on the new groove ruling for a Sports Illustrated article.
"I think even if I were a Ping player, I don't think I would play them because of the new rules we have in place. It's not against the rules, but maybe it's a little bit against the spirit of the game since they passed that rule. If somebody walked up to me and handed it to me right now, even if I loved them, I wouldn't play them."
Told what Estes said, Wilson replied: "Bob has not come up to me and said anything about it. But if he came and asked me, I'd tell him, what I told you. It's not a groove issue for me. It's a comfort issue. I'm not trying to gain advantage with the grooves. I think Bob is completely wrong. Maybe he should think about what he says."
They'll have a chance to talk about it. They're paired together in today's final round.