• Kyodo

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Ryo Ishikawa said Wednesday he is ready for a heated battle at this weekend’s Royal Trophy between Asia and Europe.

“We have a fantastic team and I think this will be a more heated competition than usual. If Asia can win in the end, I’ll be satisfied,” said Ishikawa, who is taking part in the tournament for the third year in a row.

This year’s Royal Trophy, which gets under way on Friday, features 16-year-old prodigy Matteo Manassero of Italy, who is the youngest ever to compete in a Masters, for Europe and South Korea’s Noh Seung Yul, who at 19 is the same age as Ishikawa, for Asia.

“People were looking at me differently when I was competing at the age of 17. Now I get a rush to play with a player who is younger than I am,” Ishikawa said.

Manassero, who shook hands with Ishikawa after a news conference, said he hopes to play against the Japanese star over the weekend. Ishikawa concurred.

“If we can play together, it would definitely leave a lasting memory. But I’m sure that if I’m ever in contention for a major title, Manassero will be right up there with me,” Ishikawa said.

Yuta Ikeda and Shunsuke Sonoda are also competing from Japan at the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin, Thailand. Europe is the defending champion.

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