By RODNEY PAGE, Times Staff Writer
Published October 28, 2005
PALM HARBOR - Jesper Parnevik's house in Jupiter was built to withstand hurricanes. He knows this because in the past two years he has gone through three hurricanes and fared well.
The latest was Hurricane Wilma, which tore through South Florida on Monday and left many with damage and without power. Parnevik rode it out at home with his wife and four children.
While there was no major damage, the storm did cause a change of plans. Parnevik was supposed to go to the Chrysler Championship alone. Instead, with no power in Jupiter, the whole family made the trip to Palm Harbor.
"We've had three hurricanes come over our house now and this was the worst," Parnevik said. "Both of my neighbors, their windows came straight in the house. We have some strong hurricane windows so we could watch the whole thing come through. But there is still a lot of pain-in-the-butt stuff to do. The landscaping is gone. There is about a foot of sand in the pool. But I think we were lucky. It's bad over there. It could get pretty scary."
Parnevik shot 3-under 68 and is tied for seventh.
RAVE REVIEW: Paul Azinger will struggle to make the cut, but he wasn't too upset with his 4-over 75 Thursday on Innisbrook's Copperhead Course. He feels 75 on one of the best courses in the world isn't too bad.
"I think it's the best course on tour," said Azinger, in his 24th year on the PGA Tour. "If you hit it well you're going to score but if you don't you're going to get creamed. It has U.S. Open-type rough. It's got the hardest par-5 on tour, which is No. 5. It's got the hardest collection of par-3s on tour for sure. I think it's got the best putting surface in the world. It's a total package golf course."
Azinger, who lives in Bradenton, bogeyed three of his first four holes and had six bogeys overall.
"The rough is so deep and the fairways are not that easy to hit," he said. "I only missed three or four fairways, which is good. But the greens are fast and it's so long. I hit seven 3- and 5-irons from the fairway. That's a lot on a tour course. Normally you hit none."
ROUGH? WHAT ROUGH? Tom Lehman knows there is danger waiting if your tee shot strays from the fairway. At least that's what people have told him the past two days.
"I've heard it was pretty high but thankfully I haven't found out first-hand," he said. "I've been driving it very straight. Dead down the middle straight. I've always done well on courses that demand you hit it straight and accurately. Hopefully, that will continue."
BATTLING BACK: Lakeland's Marco Dawson missed all but six events last year due to season-ending back surgery. The surgery in April 2004 repaired stiffness in his lower back and kept Dawson out until the Ford Championship at Doral in Miami in March.
He is playing under a major medical extension, which means he has a total of 29 events to earn $623,262, the same money earned by 2004's 125th player, Tag Ridings. The top 125 money winners at the end of the year earn an exemption for the next season.
Dawson earned $59,550 before his surgery, which counts toward this year's money. In 21 events this season, Dawson has earned $482,945. He needs a good showing at the Chrysler Championship to retain his card, and he's off to a good start. Dawson shot 2-under 69 and is tied for 16th.
"I don't know if you ever get 100 percent, but I'm good enough to play," Dawson said. "I'm probably better off than I was before. (The back surgery) is not in my mind anymore. As long as I do my work, then I don't have to worry about it."
THREE WITHDRAW: Dudley Hart withdrew due to a back injury. Pat Perez and Thomas Levet, who both finished 7-over 78, also withdrew for unknown reasons.