RYO IS READY TO RISE TO THE ROYAL OCCASION


Ryo Ishikawa has identified the two qualities necessary to become a great match play golfer – “heart and guts”.

And he is determined to show he has plenty of both as the Asian Team’s spearhead in their bid to reclaim the Royal Trophy from Colin Montgomerie’s defending champions.

Japan’s ‘Bashful Prince’ aims to show plenty of the aggression that earned him a mind-blowing 58 in the final round of the 2010 Crowns tournament as he charged out of the pack to register a thrilling victory.

He said: “You have to try to be attacking and make as many birdies as possible, but it is very different to attempting a new record by shooting 57 in a stroke play tournament.

“In stroke play you look only at yourself, and what shots you need to hit. But in match play, a lot depends on how your opponent is doing. You do not have to be so aggressive if he is struggling on a hole.

“But you have to show how hard your guts and your heart are to win in match play, and that is a challenge I look forward to.”

Ishikawa insisted he does not feel extra pressure to perform as Asia’s best known player – and one of the most exciting prospects to explode onto the global game since Tiger Woods joined the professional ranks 15 years ago.

He added: “This is my third appearance in the Royal Trophy, and I am happy to be here. But if you are looking for the backbone of the Asian Team, you should look at our Captain, Joe Ozaki, and our most experienced players, such as Thongchai Jaidee.

“For me it is just an honour to play with and against some of the best players in the world. And if the Asian Team should prevail this time, I will be happy to play my part in our win.”

The other precociously-talented 19-year-old in Captain Ozaki’s Team – newly-crowned Asian Order of Merit champion Noh Seung-yul – insists he will not suffer from ‘first night nerves’ when he makes his Royal Trophy debut on Friday.

He explained: “I have always been quite calm on the golf course, even when I needed a birdie to win the 2010 Malaysian Open.

“A lot has been written and said about the chip I played to set that up after I got out of position and was over near the practice green, and how much pressure there was on that shot.

“But I did not feel or do anything different. I went through my usual routine, decided exactly how I wanted to play the shot, and I managed to pull it off. I did not feel any extra pressure, and I feel sure it will be the same at my first Royal Trophy.

“I did not feel any nerves when I heard I had been selected by Captain Ozaki – just a great sense of pride and excitement.

“It has stayed that way during the build-up and the practice rounds. Maybe I am lucky that I do not suffer badly from nerves. But I do feel a rush of adrenaline for the big events and the big shots, and I think that is a better way to feel.”

“We are very thankful for the Royal Thai Government’s hosting of the Fifth Edition of the Royal Trophy and for the support extended by the Office of the Prime Minister;” stated Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“We also take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the co-organizers of the Championship; the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Prachuap Khirikhan Province, the Hua Hin Municipality and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd.

The Royal Trophy is hosted in Thailand by the Royal Thai Government and is co-organized by the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Prachuap Khirikhan Province, the Hua Hin Municipality and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd.

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