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Garcia aiming for back to back wins

If Sergio Garcia wins again this week, he can celebrate in customary fashion.

Finally old enough to buy a drink legally in the United States, Garcia goes for his second win in as many starts in 2002 at the Sony Open, which begins Thursday at the Waialae Country Club.

The energetic Spaniard turned 21 on Wednesday, three days after defeating David Toms in a one-hole playoff to capture the season-opening Mercedes Championships with a 72-hole total of 18-under 274.

Now a three-time winner in the United States, Garcia listed winning the PGA and European Tour money titles among his goals this year. He is off to a good start on American soil as last week's victory was worth $720,000.

The Sony Open continues the Tour's "West Coast Swing," a nine-tournament competition that concludes with the World Golf Championships and Tucson Open on February 18-24.

Points ranging from 100 for first place down to 10 for 10th will be awarded in each event. The overall points leader will earn a $500,000 bonus, with second place receiving $300,000 and third getting $200,000.

Davis Love III captured the "King of the Swing" title last year. Tiger Woods, the winner in 1999 and 2000, is taking this week off. He kicked off his 2002 season with a tie for 10th at the Mercedes Championships.

Woods next travels to caddie Steve Williams' hometown for the New Zealand Open, which has been threatened by a letter containing cyanide sent to the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand.

The Sony Open is the year's first full-field tournament. Among those competing are 21 winners from 2001, including defending champion Brad Faxon, who posted a 20-under 260 last year.

Faxon tied the Waialae course record in relation to par set by John Huston at the 1998 Hawaii Open, when the par was 72.

Faxon recorded four eagles here last year -- one in each round -- to match his entire total for 2000. He finished 2001 with 17 eagles. Faxon tied for ninth last week in his 2002 debut.

The last player to stage a successful title defense was Toms at the 2000-2001 Michelob Championships at Kingsmill.

Toms, who needed a visit from a chiropractor Sunday to help his ailing back, shot a final-round 7-under 66 last week but fell short of his fourth title since May. He won his first major at the PGA Championship in August and finished third on the money list with a career-best $3.791 million.

Love, who dropped from fifth to seventh in the world after tying for 16th at the Mercedes Championships, is hoping for an injury-free season.

He snapped a 63-event title drought at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February and had 12 top-10 finishes in only 20 starts but suffered through a neck and back ailment that limited him to one appearance between mid-April and early July. Love still finished fifth on the money list with $3,169,463.

This marks the 37th straight year the Waialae Country Club has hosted a PGA event. It was the site of the Hawaiian Open from 1965-1998.

The par-70 layout measures 7,060 yards. First prize again is $720,000.


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