January 14 2012
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- As Tadd Fujikawa walked down the first fairway in Saturday's third round, a young girl in a pink shirt, sitting atop her father's shoulders, yelled out, "Go, Tadd!" Fujikawa, despite having had to hit a provisional shot off the No. 1 tee after his first one sailed to the right, replied with a big smile and an enthusiastic wave.
The 21-year-old Fujikawa is clearly enjoying the moment in front of his hometown fans at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He started his round at 5 under, tied for 17th and hoping to produce the same kind of magic he did in 2009 when he shot a third-round 62 at Waialae.
"Hopefully I can shoot another 62," Fujikawa said on Friday after shooting a 4-under 66 to move him up the leaderboard. "That would be great. But I just want to go out there and enjoy myself ... don't stress myself out over anything, just have fun, go play my game and see what happens."
This is Fujikawa's fifth start in his hometown event. As a 16-year-old amateur in 2007, he made the cut – the youngest player in 50 years to make a cut at a PGA TOUR event -- and finished tied for 20th . In 2009, he finished tied for 32nd. He's missed the cut on two other occasions.
Now he's older, wiser and obviously playing for money now. A great weekend could jumpstart his career.
He certainly plans to feed off the energy from the large gallery that will follow him.
"Obviously I always enjoy playing here,” he said, “and I’m very blessed and thankful to everyone that supported me and helped me get into this event."