✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Home talents vie with Woods for Zozo spotlight

The only thing Japanese fans want to see more than a Tiger Woods victory at the Zozo Championship this week is a win by homegrown…

The only thing Japanese fans want to see more than a Tiger Woods victory at the Zozo Championship this week is a win by homegrown talent.

Their two favourite sons, Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa, were well placed after the first round at the Narashino Country Club on Thursday.

Matsuyama shot five-under-par 65 and was one stroke behind leaders Woods and Gary Woodland, while Ishikawa was four back on 68.

The sellout gallery gave the event an atmosphere like a major.

“I was excited that fans were calling out my name so it became my motivation,” said Matsuyama. “We don’t normally have such big crowds.

“It reminded me of the Japan Open three years ago when I played with (2013 Masters champion) Adam Scott.”

But Matsuyama, who has ranked as high as second in the world only two years ago, did not sound completely convinced he could stay with the leaders the rest of the way.

Asked to assess his game, he said: “If I start telling what is bad, it would be endless.”

While Matsuyama has enjoyed better success to date, Ishikawa remains a beloved figure in his homeland, 13 years after bursting onto the scene by winning a Japan Tour event as a 15-year-old amateur.

After carding an albatross in Wednesday’s pro-am, which was a wasted effort, he was solid if unspectacular on Thursday when the real action began.

“We almost had as many fans in one day as we usually have in a full week,” Ishikawa said.

“I think all the players on the PGA Tour could tell by the atmosphere how much the Japanese golf fans were looking forward to this moment. It was fresh and very exciting.”

Ishikawa said he had noted that Woods had been three over par early. The American subsequently made nine birdies and Ishikawa was certainly impressed.

“Hearing he finished at six (under) gave me chills,” he said.


Join Daily Trust WhatsApp Community For Quick Access To News and Happenings Around You.

UPDATE: Nigerians in Nigeria and those in diaspora can now be paid in US Dollars. Premium domains can earn you as much as $17,000 (₦27 million).

Click here to start earning.