The day that… at the Sony Open, Isao Aoki becomes the first Japanese to win at the PGA with a shot from the other side!

Isao Aoki was the first Japanese to win a PGA Tour tournament during the 1983 edition of the Sony Open. A historical date marked by an authentic feat.

By winning the Sony Open last year, kevin na he’s not the first Asian-born golfer to shine on Honolulu’s windy Waialae CC course. The Korean-American has just continued a tradition that goes back many years.

Several Asians have marked the history of the tournament

Created in 1965, the Hawaii Open – the Sony Open in Hawaii since 1999 – saw the 1966 victory of local hero ted makalena whose career ended tragically under the waves in 1968. In 1990, david ishii once again the ukulele resonates, fortunately without meeting the same fate.

Wie and Fujikawa kites

In 2004, Michelle Wie He fails the cut due to a small blow at only 14 years old. But the beautiful Hawaiian gives, among the gentlemen, a date with history without even knowing that she will be missed among the ladies. In 2007, the Japanese Tadd Fujikawa For his part, he shows that he is not a mango crossing the cut with only 16 years thanks to an eagle in the last of his first 36 holes.

At the time, comments abounded. Was he going to become the next Japanese champion to win a Major? Do not. Hideki Matsuyama took care of it in 2021. Will he be the first Japanese to win a tournament on the American circuit? No. The square was taken from the same place more than twenty years before…

Isao Aoki is not a beginner

Since his second place at the 1980 US Open, behind Jack Nicklaus, the Japanese isao aoki he is not a stranger. Although he began his American career in 1974 at the Hawaii Open, he only joined the PGA Tour full-time in 1981.

Two years later, here he is at one of his favorite courses. Leader after 3 laps on February 13, 1983, scrapped for victory with the American Jack Renner. Author of a superb 66, the latter, who has just missed an eagle on 18, signs his card. He still doesn’t know that he will have to wait another year to celebrate his 3rd career title.

The brilliance of “The Tower”

On the 18th tee, Aoki must birdie this par 5 to play a tiebreaker. Nervous, he hits his drive pretty badly into the little rough. In a bad position, he cannot reach the green, his ball spins in the opposite rough, 117 m from the pin. Annoyed, Aoki still has two shots to equalize…

With the wedge in hand, it is absolutely necessary that you get as close to the hole as possible. Nicknamed “Tower” for his 1.83 m height, the Japanese, very stooped, nevertheless hits a marvelous approach: the ball bounces hard off the green to go straight… to the hole! Eagle!

The joker of his compatriots, Aoki lets his joy explode: at 40 years old, he is the first Japanese, and the first Asian, to win a tournament on the PGA Tour!
It will also be the last, but Isao Aoki led the way.

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