IRUMA, Saitama Pref. (Kyodo) Ryo Ishikawa launched his bid for a first Japan Open title with a 2-under 70 to sit two strokes behind little-known co-leaders Kazuhiro Yamashita and Shigeru Nonaka after Thursday’s first round.
Back on home soil after making his debut at last week’s Presidents Cup, the 18-year-old star put together five birdies against three bogeys for a share of 10th place at Musashi Country Club.
Seeking his fifth title of the season, Ishikawa offset a bogey on the second hole with back-to-back birdies from the fifth and made the turn at even par after dropping another shot on the ninth.
The money rankings leader made birdies either side of a bogey on the 12th before picking up his fifth shot of the day on the 15th.
Hiroyuki Fujita enjoyed a bogey-free 69 and featured among a group of seven golfers tied for third.