January 15 2011
HONOLULU -- Japan's Shigeki Maruyama has never missed a start at Waialae since Sony began sponsoring the tournament in 1999. This year, he's playing on a sponsor's exemption.
Through 36 holes, he's making the most of it.
Maruyama shot his second consecutive 65 and was the clubhouse leader at 10 under – two strokes ahead of the field -- with the afternoon wave yet to finish. UPDATE: Maruyama and Stuart Appleby share the 36-hole lead at 10 under.
He's had a rollercoaster first 36 holes, with eight birdies and three bogeys each day, but it's obvious that Waialae fits his game.
"I'm not a real long hitter, but the fairways are always firm here, so you always get a run out on your drives," Maruyama said through his interpreter. "On the mainland, a lot of the courses you just hit and you have to carry it a long ways, which I don't do very well. But here, the length suits my game.
"In fact, the whole course suits my game."
Maruyama has three TOUR wins in his career but none since 2003. He's made just nine TOUR starts the previous two years, with his best finish a tie for 10th at the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Just before that tournament, Maruyama played the Sony Open, tying for 12th. It was also the last time he had visited the press room inside the Waialae clubhouse.
"It's been a while since I had two good rounds together," said Maruyama, who made a charge on his final seven holes with four birdies.
While a win in this event would be huge -- especially because he feels a sense of responsibility to Sony for the sponsor's exemption as well as its sponsorship of the event -- he isn't yet dreaming of what it would feel like Sunday should he win.
"Right now it's just been about really trying to play good golf and entertain the Japanese tourists who are here in number," he said. "It's good to see so many out and also ... to play well for the sponsor Sony.
"That's really about as far as my thinking process has gotten this week."
During Maruyama’s news conference Saturday, a bird flew into the press room, interrupting the Q & A session for a brief moment.
Was it a sign of things to come? A good omen?
Well, the Sony Open logo does include a bird.– Mike McAllister