KAPALUA, Maui -- The elevation changes on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort will test the stamina of the fittest of men, of which Mark Calcavecchia obviously, and by his own admission, is not one. How then to explain his overcoming the weighty burden he carries and shooting a seven-under-par 66 there in the second round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship Friday?
He trained for this event. He began climbing South Mountain in Phoenix. The first time he went up, he sent Tiger Woods a text message: "Hiking a mountain. May die."
"I got to the top of South Mountain and really thought I was going to have a heart attack," he said.
Calcavecchia, 47, climbed South Mountain three times, he said, and did some jogging as well, in preparation for the cardio test that the Plantation Course represents.
"I was trying to get my legs stronger and to get in a little bit of cardiovascular shape," he said. "Two years ago (I played) here with no preparation whatsoever, and by the time I got to the (Bob Hope Chrysler Classic), my knees and legs were killing me. Walking this course took a toll on me, so I wanted to be a little bit better prepared."
After opening with a two-over par 75 on a wet, windy and wild Thursday, Calcavecchia awoke Friday to legs that still felt fresh. He made nine birdies, and a pair of three-putt greens were his only blemishes.
"It goes to show you that even though some of these guys look fat, they're still in some kind of shape," said PGA Tour rules official Jon Brendle. "They basically walk five miles a day out there. They're more of an athlete than you think."
-- John Strege