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Jaimie Kim

Tadd Fujikawa

Nathalie Walker photo

Nathalie Walker photo

Several years since becoming one of the youngest players ever to qualify for the Sony Open, Tadd Fujikawa is getting back into the swing of things.

The 22-year-old Moanalua High School graduate appeared on MidWeek‘s March 9, 2007, cover. Born and raised in Hawaii, he has spent the past few years living in Georgia.

“After I graduated from high school, I moved up there just so I could spend time with my instructor,” he says of his current coach Hank Smith, with whom he has been working since November 2012. “It was a little bit more convenient for me.”

The move also has meant a lower cost of living and easier accessibility to tournaments on the Mainland.

Now he spends most of his time in Georgia and its surrounding areas, and typically returns to Hawaii only in the months of December and January.

Previously a judo competitor – before the age of 12, he already had won four national judo titles – Fujikawa no longer competes in the martial art.

“I’ll go to practice to help out once in a while,” he says.

Characteristically down to earth, Fujikawa humbly admits to the professional setbacks he has encountered in recent years.

“It’s been a little bit of a struggle, you know, not playing as well as I would like,” he says.

But that hasn’t stopped him from forging on. After MidWeek went to press for this issue, Fujikawa planned to enter the pre-qualifying round for the Sony Open Sunday, Jan. 5, in hope of competing in this year’s Sony Open. If all went according to plan, it would have moved him forward to Monday’s qualifying session for the main event, which begins Thursday.

“That’s my next one, and then we’ll take it from there,” he says.

The chance to play in the Sony Open also would come as the perfect present for Fujikawa, who celebrates his birthday Jan. 8.

“I feel like now I’m starting to kind of get my game back in shape and (I am) looking forward to (this) year,” he says.

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