Mon, Jan 17, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Maruyama keeps battling to hold lead in Sony Open


Shigeki Maruyama didn't panic when he made a double bogey on the first hole and quickly lost his one-shot lead in the Sony Open. He simply figured he would get it back with a couple of birdies.

Turns out it only took one swing.

Maruyama made a hole-in-one on the 185m fourth hole, part of a wild day at windy Waialae Country Club that kept his large contingent of Japanese fans thoroughly entertained until his 15m eagle putt on the 18th hole Saturday stopped on the edge of the cup.

The tap-in birdie gave him a 68, and left him in the same place he started -- with a one-shot lead.

"It was a really bad start," Maruyama said. "I tried to think positive things. Fortunately, I had a hole-in-one. That really saved my game. I could think positive after that."

He was at 10-under 200, with plenty of work left.

Brett Quigley saved par after driving into the TV compound and shot a 68, leaving him one shot behind with a great chance to end his 0-220 streak on the PGA Tour.

Quigley spent the last month playing golf with his family -- including uncle Dana Quigley on the Champions Tour, which means he played every day. He's trying to treat the first full-field event of the year as one of those marathon golf sessions with his uncle.

"We all have a tendency out here [to think], `Oh my gosh, it's a PGA Tour event. You have to play perfect.' In reality, it's not even close to that," Quigley said. "I haven't attached any meaning to anything. And that's when I play well."

Paul Azinger, the 2000 Sony Open champion, worked his low, penetrating ball flight to perfection in the wind. He was among four players who had a share of the lead at one point, finished with nine straight pars and had a 67 to finish two shots behind.

"If it's my time to do it, I'll do it," Azinger said. "I haven't gotten ahead of myself yet."

Among those in the large crowd following Maruyama was Isao Aoki, inducted last year into the World Golf Hall of Fame and the last Japanese player to win the Sony Open. Maruyama was 14 when he watched Aoki hole a wedge for eagle on the last hole to beat Jack Renner by one.

"I saw him," Maruyama said. "It gives me great pressure."

He could also get that looking behind him on the leaderboard. Among the seven players within five shots of the lead was Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, who quietly surged into contention with a 67.

Ernie Els took himself out of contention for a third straight victory at the Sony Open.

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