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Ishikawa aiming to make the grade

Kyodo

Teenage star Ryo Ishikawa hopes to advance to the weekend rounds in his second major tournament appearance overseas as he heads into the British Open in mid-July.

“I try hard for people who have supported my golf career, and I would like to play as long as possible there,” Ishikawa said at a press conference Monday in Hyogo Prefecture, a day after he won the Mizuno Open Yomiuri Classic to earn a spot in the July 16 to 19 major at Turnberry, Scotland.

His final round was filled with drama. In title contention for the first time this season, the 17-year-old blew a five-shot lead with a 9 on the par-4 12th hole after hitting his tee shot out of bounds twice.

But Ishikawa regrouped before pulling away with a chip-in eagle from 30 yards on the par-5 16th en route to his third career title on the JGTO tour.

“All golfers want to play the British Open. I want to feel proud of myself for being able to tee off,” Ishikawa said.

Asked if he has any strategies for the British Open, known for its unpredictable weather and high-grassed roughs, Ishikawa said, “You can’t fight Mother Nature. I’ll just give my all.”

Ishikawa 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. He turned professional in January last year and finished fifth on the JGTO money list that year.

Ishikawa has played four U.S. PGA Tour events this year, missing the cut in three of them, including the Masters Tournament in April.