GOTEMBA – Teenage sensation Ryo Ishikawa claimed his third title of the season and kept alive his hopes of topping the JGTO money list for the second year in a row Sunday with a two-shot victory at the Taiheiyo Masters.
The 19-year-old star, who began the day tied for the lead with Hiroyuki Fujita, made seven birdies and two bogeys in a 67 at Taiheiyo Club’s Gotemba Course to close on 14-under 274, two strokes clear of Australia’s Brendan Jones.
Ishikawa, who has now won nine times on the Japanese tour, collected ¥30 million to close the gap at the top of the rankings on money leader Kim Kyung Tae of South Korea.
With three events left to play this season, Ishikawa is roughly ¥13 million behind Kim, who placed tied for 10th at 7 under after a 68.
“I played really well on a course I like so I am overjoyed,” beamed Ishikawa. “I have been able to win while making what I feel are good adjustments to my swing.”
Ishikawa stumbled with a bogey on his opening hole but quickly regrouped to find his range, reeling off three birdies from the fourth hole and three more from the ninth before going on to make a bogey-birdie finish.
“If I play like I did today then I think I have a chance to win in the remaining three events,” said Ishikawa.
Jones highlighted a 67 with an eagle on the last while Toru Taniguchi (66) closed in a tie for third with Ryuji Imada (66) and Katsumasa Miyamoto (67).