GEISEI, Kochi Pref. – Ryo Ishikawa all but ensured himself of becoming the youngest golfer in history to earn ¥100 million in prize money on the Japanese men’s tour after making the cut in the second round of the Casio World Open on Friday.
The 17-year-old Ishikawa followed an opening round 70 with a 71 for a share of 14th place at 3-under, stealing the thunder from Komei Oda, who fired a sizzling 5-under-par 67 to open up a four-shot lead on 11-under 133.
Oda moved a step closer to his first career title when he picked up an eagle and five birdies against a pair of bogeys, at Kochi Kuroshio Country Club, where security has been increased in the wake of last week’s bomb scare.
Oda pulled four strokes ahead of Eichi Sato, who had three birdies and a bogey in a round of 70 to sit alone in second on 7-under. Money leader Shingo Katayama also shot a 70 and was a further two shots back in a tie for fourth on 139.
Ishikawa, who needs an additional ¥270,000 to earn ¥100 million this season, is guaranteed at least ¥300,000 as long as he does not retire or is not disqualified from the meet in the final two days.
U.S. LPGA regular Ai Miyazato holds the record of the youngest athlete to earn ¥100 million in the country when she achieved the feat as a 19-year-old in 2004.
Minor explosions shattered windows at the clubhouse and building of a corporate sponsor last week. On Wednesday, a man called a local newspaper and said he had buried mines at the tournament venue and that the tournament should be canceled. Police have not found any mines.
Song maintains lead
MIYAZAKI (Kyodo) South Korea’s Song Bo Bae shot a 1-under-par 71 to preserve her two-shot lead at the halfway point of the season-ending Japan LPGA Tour Championship on Friday.
Looking to end the campaign the same way she started — with a win at the Daikin Orchid Ladies back in March — Song picked up two birdies against a bogey at Miyazaki Country Club to close two shots clear of countrywoman Jeon Mi Jeong, Akiko Fukushima and Shinobu Moromizato on 4-under 140.
Tour veteran Fukushima and Moromizato shot 70s while Jeon had an up and down round on her way to a 71.