PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- It is yet to be determined how well Ryo Ishikawa's talent will travel, his success virtually exclusive to Asia through this juncture of his young career.
On Thursday, he might have provided the best hint yet of his potential to compete on the international level (notwithstanding his tie for 17th in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Singapore late last year). In his second appearance at the Northern Trust Open (he missed the cut last year), Ishikawa shot a three-under par 68 at the Riviera Country Club to turn up on the leaderboard.
Still only 18, Ishikawa has built upon his experiences on the PGA Tour and as a member of the International team in the Presidents Cup in 2009 and declared himself considerably more relaxed here than he was a year ago.
"I'm on the Presidents Cup last year," he said. "I played with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. I was supported by Y.E. Yang, so it was a great experience for me."
Ishikawa, the player of the year on the Japan Golf Tour in '09, actually got to five-under par through 14 holes on Thursday and was in second place at one point.
In the event he's still loitering on the leaderboard, those back home with no doubt hear and read all about it. The Japanese media is here en masse; the PGA Tour issued 56 credentials to Japanese media personnel.
-- John Strege