Konas turn tables on pros at Kapalua’s 3d round of TOC

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A Kona wind turned the tables on the elite winners-only 32-player field at Kapalua today. Normally a 3-wood and wedge for these players, No. 1 was the most difficult hole on course with no birdies and a third of the field making bogey or worse on the 4 par.

But there were birdies to be had and in spite of some rough starts, many players found there games, including Steve Stricker, who lost here in a playoff to Daniel Chopra several years ago, shooting and 8-under-par 65.

Considering that Mark Rolfing, who is running this thing, must’ve dropped hundreds of thousands on promoting this event, I was surprised to see a somewhat thin gallery. This being a weekend day off for most residents, where were all the golf fans?

Well, some were playing at the Dunes today, and I was supposed to have been one of them. Kaanapali was supposedly very busy as well. In fact, I think most people are out playing and not watching!

For years, Hawaii’s golf marketing brainpower has spent tens of millions on hosting the various tours. It is pretty much all they do. They may buy a few ads in Golf Digest, and few TV spots here and there, but the bulk of the marketing dollar is plowed into fat, often guaranteed paychecks for these golfers who really don’t do a Hell of a lot to go out of their way to help us promote the destination.

Yet, we tax payers just let the money flow out our coffers and into these people’s pockets, and no one really knows what goes where, exactly.

In any event, the main event on Maui is the TOC at Kapalua, and the course was once again looking rather dapper with only 32 players on it each day.

One customer of mine is going to play the course tomorrow, and I know he’ll be stoked. It is really looking fantastic.

Stricker, by canning a short putt on 18 for birdie, joins two others (Byrd and Garrigus) atop the leaderboard heading into today’s final round.

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