Ishikawa hopes to inspire homeland by playing well

Japan's Ryo Ishikawa shot a 71 in the first round at Augusta.The 19-year-old is still trying to cope with the bad news coming from home since the March 11 earthquake.
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa shot a 71 in the first round at Augusta.The 19-year-old is still trying to cope with the bad news coming from home since the March 11 earthquake.
Posted: April 08, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. - It is difficult for 19-year-old Ryo Ishikawa to be fully focused on competing in the Masters this week because of the bad news that continues to originate from Japan following the March 11 earthquake there.

After carding a 71 Thursday in the opening round at Augusta National Golf Club, he received more bad news: that northeastern Japan had been hit with one of its worst aftershocks, a 7.1 magnitude, earlier in the day.

"I think it is very serious," Ishikawa said through a translator.

Ishikawa already has pledged every dollar of his winnings in 2011 to the relief effort in his country, which would be close to $2 million if he equaled his earnings of last year. Even though his heart is there, he believes he can inspire his countrymen by playing well.

"I understand that people, especially in Sendai, they are living in hell," he said, "and I would love to show the energy and power of what golf can bring to those people."

One means nothing

Entering the Masters as the world's No. 1 player didn't help Martin Kaymer gain an advantage Thursday in his bid to break his streak of missed cuts at Augusta National.

The PGA champion from Germany carded a double bogey and six bogeys in a round of 6-over 78 that threatens to exclude him from the weekend competition for the fourth time in the four Masters in which he has competed.

"Obviously, it's frustrating if you never play well," Kaymer said. "It doesn't matter what kind of course it is. It's just a shame. It's obviously a huge tournament here, and if [the course] doesn't really suit your eye and you know that quite well it's a little frustrating."

Asked if had a new game plan for Friday's second round, he replied, "I don't have a game plan. I think that I don't really know how to play the golf course."

A ball for a beer

Three-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith had a sick feeling standing in the 18th fairway as he watched fans behind the green scatter to avoid his incoming shot.

"Walking up, I just saw one person sitting there and I knew something was wrong," Smith said. "He couldn't move, so I kind of took the beer from him and helped him out a little bit."

Well, he wasn't moving because Smith's ball had landed in his lap. He was not injured, and Smith wound up making bogey on the hole to finish his round of 75.

Afterward, Smith said, "I gave him a ball. I think he gave me the beer. So that was good."

Smith, of Pittsburgh, won his second of two Pennsylvania Amateur championships in 2009 at Waynesborough Country Club in Paoli. He returned to the area later in the year at Merion as a member of the U.S. Walker Cup team.


Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or jjuliano@phillynews.com

 

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|