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Ron Kaspriske
How does the youngest golfer to qualify for a U.S. Open follow his historic performance? Sleep in, naturally. When Tadd Fujikawa isn't playing in one of four U.S. Golf Association national championships this summer--including the U.S. Amateur Aug. 21-27 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.--the 15-year-old sometimes needs to be rousted out of bed by Mom.

"Hey, it's the summer. I'm just like any other 15-year-old," Fujikawa says.

Not exactly. Qualifying for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in June was remarkable (he shot 81-77 to miss the cut), but Fujikawa's story is even more amazing when you consider doctors gave him just a 50 percent chance to survive when he was born 3 1/2 months premature in 1991. His mother, Lori, says Fujikawa was 1 pound, 15 ounces, with undeveloped lungs and a hole in his stomach. Fujikawa has a scar more than a foot long across his belly from the surgery that allowed him to survive, albeit with stunted growth.

However, being 5-feet-1, 135 pounds hasn't kept Fujikawa from athletic achievement. He has won four junior national championships in judo but has only been playing golf competitively since age 11. Another famous Hawaiian, 16-year-old Michelle Wie, beat Fujikawa by two shots in the U.S. Open local qualifier in Oahu, but both teens advanced to sectional qualifying. Fujikawa stayed in Hawaii and qualified for the Open, and Wie came up short in New Jersey.

Ron Kaspriske

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