I can assure you that Shigeki Maruyama, the man with the telegenic smile and the matchie-matchie outfits, has not forgotten that June Monday in 2000 when he shot 29-29-58 on the South Course at Woodmont Country Club in the U.S. Open Regional Qualifying for 100th edition of the USGA summer party at Pebble Beach.
Shigeki first blipped on the international golf radar screen in the 1998 President’s Cup when he went 5 and 0 in that year’s matches. Springboarding off of nine wins on the Japanese Tour he had a couple of high finishes in WGC events the next year that helped him earn access to the PGA Tour. Playing full time in America after that he won three times-Greater Milwaukee in 2001 in a playoff with Charles Howell, Byron Nelson in 2002, and the Chrysler Classic in Greensboro in 2003.
That grey morning at Woodmont, with rain showers threatening his afternoon round on the more difficult North Course, Shigeki was determined to go low and put something in reserve before the afternoon lap.
What he did was simply astonishing. Two pars on the opening holes and then he put his foot to the floor making 11 birdies and an eagle over the next sixteen. Guess the course fit his eye. It included holing his wedge from 96 yards on the par four ninth for an eagle and the exclamation point of hitting the long par five eighteenth in two (remember this was 2000 before the techno geeks got to the maximum COR on the fairway metals making this routine) setting up a two-putt birdie and his second 29 of the day.
He cruised home with a two-over 74 on the North after lunch and easily qualified at 132 two shots behind David Berganio the medalist for the day.
We have staged the U.S. Open Regional at Woodmont for decades with PGA Tour pros of all calibers participating and no one else has come close to doing what “the Smiling Assassin” did that June morning. The notoriety is a bit infamous from the standpoint of our members but it was great theater for those who witnessed his folkloric round.