“Feels like an old friend wrapping you with a nice warm blanket,” said Punahou graduate and veteran of the Sony Open Parker McLachlin.
Many pros are feel far from warm and fuzzy about the winds at Waialae Country Club where gusts are forecast to get as high as 40 miles per hour for the Sony Open this week.
For the four golfers in the field experienced with Hawaii’s weather, it might just provide an advantage.
“It’s just a good feeling to see these winds out here,” continued McLachlin before participating in a ‘Pro-Junior’ competition on Tuesday. “Guys, you can see them kind of freaking out a little bit, that aren’t used to the wind. But guys that grew up here, we know it’s like this. We know how to play in wind like this. So it doesn’t phase us quite as much.”
“A little local knowledge here and there really doesn’t… it’ll help maybe for my own personal game, said second-time Sony Open competitor Tyler Ota. But I just gotta play my best this week. And hope for the best.”
Ota, who has played many rounds at Waialae, admitted the winds he witnessed while playing his Tuesday practice round were some of the strongest he’s experience at this course.
Mililani graduate and former University of Hawaii golfer Jared Sawada is in the field at the Sony for after qualifying on Monday, in a playoff.
Makena Golf Club professional Eric Dugas of Maui will be competing in the Sony Open for the second straight year after winning the sectional.
The most experienced of the ‘Hawaii guys’ in the field is McLachlin who will have played in 10 Sony’s when he hits his first tee shot at 7:20am on Thursday.
“20 years ago I played in my first Sony Open,” said McLachlin. “I was 20 years old. Now I’m forty. A lot of knowledge. A lot of wisdom. A few little gray hairs. With the winds being the way they are, this course is going to play a bit like how I grew up playing it.”
Ota is on the other end of the career journey. The amateur planned to turn pro before the Sony Open if he couldn’t qualify as an am. But he did. So now the plan is to take the next step in his competitive career after the tournament.
“(I’ll) Probably do a couple Monday (qualifiers). See how that goes. Just get my feet wet a little. Got a few meetings with potential sponsors for Japan. I’ve played well in Japan so I want to go see how pro life is out there. If not then the goal is to get on the PGA Tour. That’s everyone’s dream. Unfortunately it’s not always going to happen. But just to be able to chase it will be nice.”
Ota is playing in his second Sony Open. The Moanalua grad has played in five amateur events this season and won all five, including a tournament in Japan.
Competition begins on Thursday.