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RTO Notebook

RTO Notebook

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Teen phenom Tadd Fujikawa made his professional debut, and unfortunately it didn’t work out the way he hoped.

The 16-year-old Fujikawa, playing in front of nearly 200 fans most of the day, double-bogeyed the first hole and went on to shoot a 6-over-par 78 in the first round of the 9th annual Reno-Tahoe Open Thursday at Montreux Golf & Country Club.

Fujikawa claimed he wasn’t nervous.

The projected cut is 2-under par, which means the 5-foot-1 Fujikawa has little or no chance to make the cut.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I pureed two shots at the first and the second one just flew the green. I couldn’t do anything from there the line was so bad.

“I stayed really patient and took it one shot at a time. I did my best. I didn’t give up or anything. Things just weren’t going my way. I think I just need to get out there more. I usually don’t play in rough like this. I need to get used to it I guess.”

Fujikawa said what gave him the most problems was club selection because of the altitude.

“I’ve been out here for a really long time, and today I could not get my club selection correct,” he said. I was either short or long on every hole. It seemed the more you try, the harder it gets. If you try harder, you hit it more in the rough. I’m hitting at the pin every time, not getting my distances, and it’s costing me a lot of strokes.”

TOUGHEST, EASIEST HOLES

The par-3 12 which measures 186 yards played the toughest during the first round with a 3.242 average. The second-toughest hole was No. 14, a 491-yard par-4, which played to a 4.152.

The easiest hole on the course Thursday was the 518-yard par-5 4th hole, It played to an average of 4.697. The second-easiest was the 429-yard par-4 18th, which played to a 3.727.

FAMILIAR PAIRINGS

Some college teammates played in the same groups on Thursday.

D.J. Trahan and Lucas Glover, a pair of former Clemson stars were in the same threesome.

Glover got the best of his former teammate, shooting a 5-under-par 67. Trahan shot a 70. The two will play together today, too.

“It’s great,” Glover said. “It’s a comfort level, and Cory (Pavin) lightens things up as well. We had a good time, laughed and carried on all day. D.J. had a rougher day than Corey and I, but he still played solid.”

Former Virginia Tech stars Johnson Wagner and Brendon de Jonge were in the same pairing. De Jonge shot a 5-under-par 67 and Wagner was a stroke behind at 68.

MORE GLOVER

Glover currently ranks 10th in the chase for the President’s Cup. The top 10 point-getters get automatic berths on the team.

The first-round 67 certainly helped Glover to that goal. A good showing here could really solidify his spot.

Glover said he needs to score better on the par-5s than he did on Thursday.

“I only played the par-5s 1-under-par,” Glover said. “So, with all the low scores, guys are going to have to take advantage of the par-5s and I have to take advantage of them as well and convert those opportunities.”

Should he win this week, he would become the first Reno-Tahoe Open winner to parlay that victory into a berth onto that year’s Presidents Cup team.

Tom Pernice Jr. is currently ranked 20th. Pernice shot a 1-under 71, and will have to do some work over the next three days to get into serious contention.

COCEROS MAKES MOST OF CHANCES

Coceres finished 147th on the 2006 PGA TOUR money list and in turn has conditional status on tour for 2007.

While only playing in limited events, Coceres has made the best of his situation with three top-five finishes, including two playoff losses and a fifth place finish at The Players Championship. He is currently 60th in the FedExCup points standings.

Coceres’ 64 is his first opening round in the 60s on tour since the Verizon Heritage in April.

GREAT OFF TEE

A total of 10 players hit all 14 fairways during Thursday’s opening round – Ryan Armour, Jason Gore, Pernice Jr., Jim Rutledge, Kevin Sutherland, Willie Wood, Brent Geiberger, John Huston, Paul Sheehan, and Brian Gay.

FLYING HIGH

There were six total eagles made on Thursday – Steve Flesch (2), Jose Coceres, Joel Edwards, Ian Leggatt and Johnson Wagner.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281