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Ishikawa can’t cut it in PGA Tour debut

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

LOS ANGELES — Ryo Ishikawa’s debut on the PGA Tour ended in heartbreaking fashion Friday as the popular teenager missed the cut at the Northern Trust Open.

Making his first appearance on golf’s toughest circuit after receiving a commissioner’s foreign exemption, the 17-year-old had two birdies against as many bogeys for an even-par 71 and missed the cut set at 1-under 141 by three strokes after opening with a 73 on Thursday.

Scott McCarron fired a 68 and opened up a two-shot lead over fellow Americans Tommy Armour III (67) and Steve Stricker (66) on 10-under 132.

Ishikawa, whose appearance here has attracted global media attention, struggled with his short game for the second day in a row and made bogeys on the 16th and fifth holes after teeing off from the 10th at Riviera Country Club.

He recovered with birdies on the Nos. 6 and 7 but was unable to claw his way back into contention for a place in the third round and closed in a tie for 99th.

“I’m very disappointed. If I had played more aggressively the result may well have turned out differently,” said Ishikawa, who shot to fame in May 2007 when he became the youngest winner on the Japanese top-tier professional tour at the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup as a 15-year-old amateur.

Ishikawa spurned a birdie chance on his opening hole from around six feet and missed a par putt on the 16th before a three-putt for bogey on No. 5 left him with an uphill task.

“After I three-putted at No. 5 I knew I was outside the cut and didn’t have much of a chance,” said Ishikawa. “Finally I put some good swings on two irons at No. 6 and 7 and birdied both of those holes.”

Despite the disappointment of his early exit, Ishikawa said his U.S. debut had been a welcome learning curve.

“I was really happy to be able to play on the PGA Tour. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to play all four days but I did learn a lot,” said Ishikawa.

“Even though I only played two days and missed the cut I don’t look at it as a failure. It gives me more incentive to work harder on my game to be able to play at this level.”

McCarron was the 36-hole leader for only the fifth time in his career. He could not have found Riviera more peaceful in the cool of evening, with the fresh smell of eucalyptus and the air filled with the chirping of birds.

“I usually do my best work at night,” McCarron said.

Phil Mickelson will need to do better on the weekend if he wants to successfully defend his title at Riviera. He was nine shots worse than his opening-round 63.