Ryo Ishikawa kept alive his hopes of retaining the money title Friday as he shot the day’s low of an 8-under 62 to climb into a tie for sixth at the JGTO season-ending Nippon Series JT Cup.
Ishikawa, who began the second round 13 shots off the pace, moved to 2-under 138, six strokes behind leader Yuta Ikeda at Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club.
Ikeda managed a 1-under 69 in windy conditions to take a three-shot lead over Komei Oda (67), Tetsuji Hiratsuka (69) and Hiroyuki Fujita (70).
Ishikawa racked up nine birdies against just one bogey, which came on the 13th hole.
“I worked on my swing with my father last night. He told me that I could birdie half of the holes here after I made some adjustments. I’m surprised I actually did pick up nine birdies today,” the 19-year-old said.
Ishikawa started his birdie blitz by knocking in a 30-footer on the third green.
He was aided by a lucky bounce on the 12th after his tee shot ended up in the light rough after hitting a tree. On the course’s signature 227-yard, par-3 18th, Ishikawa chipped in from 15 yards for another birdie, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
“Everything worked in my favor,” Ishikawa said. “I didn’t expect to shoot a 62 in these winds. Now I can tell myself that I’ve got a real chance if I play well again tomorrow.”
Ishikawa trails Kim Kyung Tae for the lead by about ¥29 million in the rankings, with third-ranked Ikeda ¥36 million behind the South Korean.