Yuta Ikeda and Ryo Ishikawa got off to contrasting starts in a must-win situation for the 2010 money title at the season-ending Nippon Series JT Cup on Thursday.
Ikeda shot a bogey-free 7-under 63 to take a two-stroke lead, while Ishikawa struggled to a 76 to sit at the bottom of the 28-man field on the 7,016 yard, par-70 layout at Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club.
Ikeda and Ishikawa, currently third and second in the money rankings, respectively, must claim the winning prize of ¥40 million to stand any chance of overtaking Kim Kyung Tae at the top of the rankings.
Kim was in a five-way tie for fifth after a 66 in a bid to become the first JGTO money champion from South Korea.
In a dream start, Ikeda made four birdies on the front nine and three on the back.
“I made some early birdies and got it going,” Ikeda said. “I kept my composure throughout the day and closed the round with a nice par save.”
Ishikawa, though, had just one birdie against four bogeys through 10 holes.
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