January 24 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Who knew that the Farmers Insurance Open was a home game for Ryo Ishikawa.
The 21-year-old from Japan, who is playing his first full season as a PGA TOUR member, recently bought a house in Carlsbad, Calif., which is about 30 minutes from Torrey Pines. He chose a house which is about 10 minutes from the enclave of Callaway, his equipment sponsor.
"So it sounds good," Ishikawa said. "I play next week Phoenix, and then after that take off, and then back to home in Carlsbad and some practice on the Callaway Center."
Ishikawa couldn't find much to be disappointed in Thursday as he shot 68 on the North Course in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. He's three strokes off the lead held by defending champion Brandt Snedeker.
"I've done my goal today, so I'll focus on tomorrow," he said.
Ishikawa's best finish on the PGA TOUR is that solo second he posted at last year's Puerto Rico Open -- which earned him enough to qualify for Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR. The talented young man, who turned pro when he was 16, relishes the challenge at this stage of his career.
"I'd like to say the golf course is improved more than Japanese course," Ishikawa said. "So the golf course shape, and more longer distances are longer, and most players are driving longer than me, so it's more difficult place here. But it's good for me."
There's another plus for Ishikawa, too. He's like a rock star back home but he'll be able to live in relative anonimity in the United States.
"The more easier I can walk in town and we can go shopping," he said. "... Here, I can. It's difficult in Japan. So, it's more easier, yeah."