Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa enjoys stardom in his home country and Major winner Justin Rose of England, who played alongside him in the first round of the SMBC Singapore Open on Thursday, knows exactly why.
After carding a first round 68, Rose gushed about Ishikawa’s game, style and demeanour.
“Ryo Ishikawa played really good today. Obviously he shot two under which is a good solid start. He played very aggressively – he hit a lot of drivers. Especially on the front nine I was impressed by how well he hit the driver.” said Major winner Rose.
“He always looks good. He has a very graceful, cool looking swing. He has got a lot of style. He always looks good with a putter in his hand. He is also a lovely guy so I enjoyed my day with him.”
Teen phenom Ishikawa is nearing the peak of his powers after spending six months out of the game with a back injury.
That layoff put paid to his burgeoning career on the PGA Tour but he has rebuilt his game on the Japan Tour and is playing for the third straight time at the SMBC Singapore Open.
Ishikawa triumphed three times on the Japan Tour last year to take his tally to 17 wins and he is swinging more freely than in past appearances in Singapore.
The 28 year old, who was second at the halfway mark last year before fading over the weekend, looked assured during his first round on Thursday with three birdies in 17 holes before he dropped a shot at his last hole (the ninth).
“My round was not bad, considering the difficult set up of the course. I think that if I can continue doing what I did today I’ll find myself in a good position,” said Ishikawa, who won his first title on the Japan Tour at aged 15.
“My putting was okay, but I left myself a lot of long putts so I need to work on my iron game.
“I need to hit it closer to the pin and I think it is something that I’ll have to keep working on throughout the year.
“Tomorrow will be another important round so I’ll look to play with a fresh mindset, and hopefully I can go into the final rounds in a good position.”
Ishikawa was equally complementary of playing partner Rose.
“It was a lot of fun playing with Justin (Rose). He is such a gentleman and it was a pleasure playing with him,” he said.
“He always plays flawless golf but I could see he was getting a little frustrated on the par 5s. Even the very best players get frustrated.
“He plays a very different game from mine and there are parts that I envy, but I am here to compete. Rather than trying to learn from him, I want to compete with my own game.”