Monday, June 19, 2006

Teen Golfer’s Success Should Inspire Others

From -- "Michelle Wie's spectacular attempt to qualify to play in the PGA's U.S. Open kept the national radar above the accomplishment of another Hawaii teenage golfer. Only as the Open was about to get under way did wee Tadd Fujikawa and his inspirational story gain worldwide attention. Welcome to the big stage.

While Wie came close to qualifying for the Open earlier this month, Fujikawa, a 15-year-old who just completed his freshman year at Moanalua High, defeated nine competitors in sectional competition on Kauai to gain a spot at New York's Winged Foot Golf Club. When he teed up on Thursday, he became the youngest golfer ever to play in the Open.

A closer look revealed not only that he stands only 5-foot-1, weighs 135 pounds and can hit the ball 280 yards, but his prowess grew from an imperiled birth. Fujikawa was born 31/2 months prematurely and weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces. His mother, Lori Fujikawa, recalls doctors telling her, "You have a fetus" who had a 50-50 chance of surviving.

His mother says the infant's lungs were not developed so he was put on ventilators, and five days later underwent five surgeries to combat infection of his intestines.

"I think that it's really something special that I'm actually here, alive, not only at the U.S. Open, but just talking to everybody," he told the New York Times.

At Winged Foot his 77 on Friday put him at 18 over par, a respectable 140th in a field of 155. A course that was nightmarish for most had to be a field of dreams for one golfer."

This story is courtesy of the Honolulu Star Bulletin and can be found at

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