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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 18, 2010

Fujikawa moving to Sea Island, Ga.


Advertiser Staff and News Services

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Tadd Fujikawa

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Dean Wilson

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Tadd Fujikawa doesn't get many opportunities on the PGA Tour these days, so it was disappointing for the 19-year-old Moanalua High alum to fail to break par in both rounds and miss the cut in the Sony Open in Hawai'i.

Next up is a big move, from one island to another, and a chance for Fujikawa to experience life on the tour.

Just not the PGA Tour.

Fujikawa has been spending most of his time at Sea Island in Georgia working with Todd Anderson and the stable of coaches who also work with Zach Johnson, Jonathan Byrd and others. He has signed up for eGolf Professional Tour formerly the Tar Heel Tour which features an 18-tournament schedule from February to October.

The membership fee is $2,000, and it cost $1,110 to enter each tournament, which is roughly last-place money. The tour pays the entry fee for PGA Tour qualifying for the top 20 players on its money list.

"Just try to go out there and play as much as I can and get some good experience playing tournaments," Fujikawa said.

Leaving paradise won't be terribly difficult because Fujikawa and his mother, Lori, have rented a house at Sea Island for the past few years. Besides, an island is an island, right?

"It's sort of like this, except the water is kind of ... brown, to stay the least," Fujikawa said with a laugh. "I don't know; I never really went in the water there. I don't think I want to. Usually, if you can't see the bottom, that's not a good thing."

The golf? That's a different story.

"All of the tour pros there, and Davis (Love) and J-Byrd and all of those guys ... it's a good atmosphere," he said. "It really helps."

WILSON TIES FOR 43RD, POCKETS $19,250

Castle High graduate Dean Wilson, the only one of six Hawai'i golfers to make it to Sunday, tied for 43rd and won $19,250. Wilson closed with even-par 70 to finish at 3-under 277.

"I really wanted to play well," Wilson said. "I put myself in the best position that I could have going into the weekend. Not being able to get anything going is a little disappointing, but it was fun to be in the mix and have all the crowd out here cheering for me. It was fantastic. I had a lot of fun.

"I'm trying to win this tournament. That's what I've always wanted to do and I'm trying my best to do it."

ANOTHER RUNNER-UP FINISH FOR ALLENBY

This is Robert Allenby's seventh runner-up finish on the PGA Tour. He has won four times. It was his ninth start at Sony and his third top-10.

Allenby has worn a pink shirt in the final round since last year, to honor his mother, who died of cancer. He is also a spokesman for Challenge Cancer Support Network and has raised more than $9 million for children with cancer and blood disorders.

Steve Stricker now has seven top-15 finishes in 11 starts at Sony.

Troy Merritt (T20), Blake Adams (T25) and Brian Stuard (T25) all had top-25 finishes in their first tour starts.

MANY PLANNING ON PLAYING IN EUROPE

The field was particularly strong at the Sony Open, with the winner to receive 50 world ranking points. That's up from last year, and is the equivalent to the field at the AT&T National last summer at Congressional.

PGA Tour points will dip significantly this week with so many highly ranked players at Abu Dhabi, and none of the top 30 in the world expected to play at the Bob Hope Classic.

Chalk that up to more PGA Tour players taking up membership in Europe, and appearance money available in the Middle East.

Ernie Els wonders how long that will last.

"It will be interesting to see if they sustain that," he said, referring to travel habits of U.S.-based players. "Myself and Vijay (Singh) did it for 15 years, and then he kind of stopped doing that because he came to live over here."

For players like Els, and several Europeans, traveling is simply a way of life, not a burden.

His global schedule has been questioned over the years, and Els jokingly said he might have done things differently had he won more than three majors.

"No, I come from South Africa," he said. "I've gotten this question my whole career. I don't think I would have done it any differently. That's just the way we were we are. Gary Player was that way because he started in South Africa. And he started spreading his wings, I just kind of followed suit."

AP writer Doug Ferguson and Advertiser writer Bill Kwon contributed to this report