Ishikawa set to play in HSBC Champions

Kyodo News

Ryo Ishikawa will play at the prestigious HSBC Champions in Shanghai next month, it was learned Thursday.

Ishikawa, who has won four events this year and currently tops the Japanese money rankings, has been given the green light to enter the November 5-8 HSBC tournament by his sponsor Toyota, organizer of The Championship by Lexus being played the same week on the JGTO tour.

The $7 million HSBC Champions assumes the mantle of a World Golf Championship event for the first time this year and winnings are also added to domestic money rankings.

World No. 1 Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are scheduled to feature among a world class field at the Sheshan International Golf Club.

Nukaga sets pace

CHIBA (Kyodo) Yuta Ikeda made a solid start at the Bridgestone Open on Thursday, firing a 5-under-par 67 to sit one stroke off the lead after the first round at Sodegaura Country Club.

Little-known Tatsunori Nukaga eagled the 16th en route to a 66 to set the early pace, while Ikeda, Ryo Ishikawa’s closest rival in the race for the money title, made five birdies in a flawless round to share second with Naoya Takemoto and Hiroyuki Fujita.

The 23-year-old Ikeda closed the gap on Ishikawa on the money list to just under ¥2 million with victory at the Canon Open, only to lose ground again at last week’s Japan Open.

Ikeda shared 18th place while Ishikawa narrowly missed out on his fifth title of the season in a three-way playoff won by Ryuichi Oda.

Kaname Yokoo was among a group of six golfers who went round in 68.

Oda, Shingo Katayama and former U.S. PGA player Shigeki Maruyama shot 70s, while Ishikawa and defending champion Azuma Yano finished the first round at 1-under.