HONOLULU – He is miles from home, but very much at home. Confusing? Not really. It’s the new world for Tadd Fujikawa, the lovable and still young (he turned 19 last Friday) golfer from Hawaii.
Having first appeared on the golf scene in 2006 as the youngest-ever (15) qualifier for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Fujikawa is here at the Sony Open on a sponsor’s exemption. Makes sense, given that he grew up not far from Waialae CC, but the truth is, he’s now based in Sea Island, Ga.
It’s a sound decision, for it allows him to be near the eGolf Professional Tour, which is where he’ll try and hone his game in 2010. For Fujikawa, who is just 5-foot-1 and was never given better than 50-50 odds of surviving after being born three months premature, it will be his first real professional tour. It will afford him the chance to be around his swing coach, Todd Anderson, on a daily basis.
“It’s a good atmosphere,” Fujikawa said. “All the Tour pros are there, Davis (Love), Jay-Bird (Jonathan Byrd), and all those guys. It really helps.”
Fujikawa made the cut at the Sony in 2007 and had a chance to win as an amateur before he closed with a 73 and finished tied for 20th. He got in that year by winning the local Governor’s Cup, a tournament for local junior players. He was a sponsor’s pick in 2008 and missed the cut; a year ago he got through pre-qualifier and the Monday qualifier, shot 275 and finished tied for 32nd to earn his first check as a professional ($29,237).