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Little support for local Wilson in Hawaii

Dean Wilson had just made it through Q-school when someone offering congratulations said he would see the 35-year-old from Hawaii at the Sony Open, the first full-field event of the year.

Wilson laughed, knowing the history at his hometown tournament.

It might be time to write another chapter.

Hawaii's best tour player was the fourth alternate when the 144-man field was announced Friday.

``Are you kidding me?'' said Mike Weir, his teammate at BYU. ``I always thought it was a shame that Dean doesn't get the respect as the only tour player from Hawaii. For him not to get in Sony is a bit embarrassing for the tournament. You've got to support your local guy.''

Wilson, best known on tour for playing with Annika Sorenstam in the Colonial, has not had much success on the PGA Tour, but he won six times in Japan and captured two of its majors in 2001. In previous years, he never received a sponsor's exemption, only getting into the Sony Open through Monday qualifying.

Sony officials give most of the exemptions to Japanese players for marketing purposes, and there's nothing wrong with that. Not even Wilson would complain about a spot going to 15-year-old Michelle Wie, who is responsible for any spike in ticket sales.

But there were some curious exemptions, such as Omar Uresti.

``We wanted to have him, but Sony had others on their list,'' tournament director Ray Stosik said. ``Dean was one of those right near the top. At the time when the selections were made, it was looking like he had a good chance.''

Wilson ordinarily would have made it into the Sony Open through the pecking order at the start of the year, which alternates between the top 20 on the Nationwide Tour money list and the 35 players who made it through Q-school. But a couple of late entries -- such as Tom Kite, Craig Stadler and Steve Jones -- knocked him down the list.

Wilson tried to qualify Monday, but shot 67 to finish one shot out of the playoff.

 

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