Fujikawa warming up to life on eGolf pro tour Meet the Big Wiesy's biggest fan ... by far
In prize money terms, Tadd Fujikawa is shooting his age on the eGolf Professional Tour. The Moanalua High School graduate is 19 years old and 12th on the money list after three events.
There is room for joy and improvement, and $11,660.08 in winnings. It goes to pay for the $1,110 entry fees each week and gas on a tour that schedules all its stops within four hours of Charlotte, N.C.
About all Fujikawa's new East Coast life is lacking right now is warm weather and good food.
"I can't wait for some warm weather," Fujikawa said this week in the midst of another 40-degree night. "The weather now is not fun. Maybe one week of cold weather OK, but week after week of cold and wind and rain it's not pleasing at all.
"And the food after a while my mom can cook when we are at Sea Island (Ga.), but playing in tournaments it's hard to find good food."
There are zero Zippys and white rice is tough to find in Blythewood, S.C., site of this week's Golf in Morocco Classic. After finishing top-40 his first two weeks, Fujikawa was in contention beginning to end last week, tying for fifth.
The boy who captured Hawai'i's imagination when he was the youngest ever to play at a U.S. Open four years ago, then kept followers mesmerized with two spectacular Sony Open in Hawai'i performances, is now a career man. His office this week is the Columbia and Cobblestone Park golf courses. His colleagues are 239 guys sharing his golf dream.
This is their path to the PGA Tour, or at least the Nationwide, they hope. The tour offers $235,000 purses with fields of 156 (single course) and 240 (two courses). The tour pays the PGA Tour Q-School fees for the top 20 on this year's money list; last year the cost of the three stages was $12,000.
The 18-stop eGolf tour is Fujikawa's sole focus in 2010, unless he receives exemptions or Monday qualifiers for Nationwide. It is the first time he has been able to golf full-time. Off-weeks are spent with coaches at Sea Island. He's a happy man, even if the expense of coming home is so prohibitive he does not expect to be back until December.
"Some days you're putting well and can't hit," Fujikawa said. "Some days you're hitting well and can't putt. Putting it together for one week (last week) felt pretty good.
"Over time and with more experience, I'll be able to do better and be more consistent. I feel comfortable playing more often."
After last week, the question has become is he comfortable enough to win?
"By the end of the year I'd like to get my PGA Tour card or at least Nationwide. I want some status on either tour," Fujikawa said. "Obviously, I'd like it to be the PGA, but Nationwide is not bad either. I want to get out and win. I think I can."
SHOJI INVITATIONAL TO BE HELD MAY 6
Leilehua will be the site of the 11th annual Dave Shoji Invitational May 6 starting at noon. The event raises funds for the Rainbow Wahine volleyball summer tuition assistance program, transportation to spring tournaments and more.
The format will be two best ball of three, with adjusted individual handicap. The cost is $175 per golfer. Golfers, sponsors and donors are welcome. Call 956-6229 for more information.