Sony Open helpful to amateurs
HONOLULU ó The Sony Open just wouldn’t be the same without a teenager in the news.
This is the tournament where Michelle Wie received a sponsor’s exemption when she was 14, then shot 68 in the second round and missed the cut. Tadd Fujikawa had just turned 16 when he not only made the cut but tied for 20th.
Among the 144 players at Waialae this week is Lorens Chan. He is four years away from a high school diploma and still needs adult supervision to drive a golf cart.
For the last decade or so, the Sony Open has used one of its four unrestricted sponsor exemptions on a top amateur from Hawaii.
They are chosen through the Governor’s Cup, a yearlong competition named after former Gov. John Burns, who wanted to help develop junior golf on the island. The 12 amateurs who qualify then compete in an 18-hole tournament in late December.
First prize? A spot in the Sony Open.
“That’s pretty cool,” Geoff Ogilvy said. “More tournaments should do that.”
Chan shot a career-best 67, then won a three-way playoff with a birdie on the first extra hole.
“Pretty much the shot of my life,” he said Tuesday, recalling his wedge out of the rough and over a bunker to 6 feet on the 10th hole.
Chan is a freshman at Iolani School, stands 5-foot-7 and barely weighs more than 100 pounds, not much different from when Charles Howell III played in his first PGA Tour event. Howell was 15 when he received a sponsor’s exemption to the old Buick Challenge. He shot 80-75 and missed the cut.
“It was an overwhelming experience for me,” Howell said, “but it was hugely motivational. It told me a lot about my game.”
TENNISSYDNEY, Australia ó Novak Djokovic rebounded from a first-round loss at Brisbane with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu at the Sydney International.
n LONDON ó The ATP and WTA tours will offer fans the chance to see more matches live on the Internet this year ó for a price.
TennisTV.com will have streaming video from 41 events.
STORRS, Conn. ó Maya Moore had 18 points and top-ranked Connecticut won its 102nd straight game against an unranked opponent, beating DePaul 77-62.