Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Funk Thrives in Hawaiian Atmosphere; Ponte Vedra Beach Resident Isn't Ready to Move, Though

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Funk Thrives in Hawaiian Atmosphere; Ponte Vedra Beach Resident Isn't Ready to Move, Though

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

Fred Funk isn't planning to move from Ponte Vedra Beach to Hawaii just because he has the winning touch in Champions Tour events in the Aloha State.

"Hawaii is a little too far from Florida for me," Funk told the Times-Union Sunday, less than an hour after he birdied the last two holes in spectacular fashion to win the MasterCard Championship, the opening Champions Tour event of the season and his second victory in Hawaii in two years. "But I do love playing here."

That's evident in Funk's 2008 schedule. He played in the first two PGA Tour events of the season, tying for 25th in the Mercedes Championship and for 10th in the Sony Open. Bolstered by those two finishes, Funk shot 63-65 on the weekend at the Hualalai Golf Club in Ka'upulehu-Kona, including seven birdies among his last 12 holes to overhaul Allen Doyle and win by two shots. Funk finished at 21-under-par 195 and earned $300,000.

Flush with victory, Funk now moves to the Turtle Bay Championship this week in Kahuku, where he won last year by a Champions Tour-record 11 shots.

Funk set the tournament record at Turtle Bay last year at 23 under (including 64-64 on the weekend), and in nine competitive rounds in Hawaiian Champions Tour events, Funk has a stroke average of 66.2, has shot in the 60s in all but one round and has never had an over-par round.

Funk had a flair for the dramatic Sunday. He chipped in for birdie at the par-3 17th hole and sank an 8-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th hole, after hitting his drive into a fairway bunker.

Going against a fierce wind that had changed direction on the back nine, Funk had to bore a 6-iron out of the trap from 149 yards out at the closing hole, and was as surprised as anyone when the ball came to rest less than three paces from the hole.

"I aimed way out to the right and pulled it 30 yards," he said. …

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