TOGO, Japan – Ryo Ishikawa shot a 12-under 58 – the lowest score ever on a major tour – to win The Crowns on Sunday for his seventh Japan Tour title.
The 18-year-old Ishikawa tapped in for par on the par-4 18th after his 15-foot birdie try slid inches by the cup. He had 12 birdies in his bogey-free round on the 6,545-yard Nagoya Golf Club course.
“I always dreamed of getting a score like this but didn’t think I would do it so fast,” Ishikawa said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will after a few days.”
After opening with rounds of 68, 70 and 71 to fall six strokes behind third-round leader Shigeki Maruyama, Ishikawa birdied nine of the first 11 holes Sunday. He added birdies on Nos. 14-16 and closed with two pars to finish at 13-under 267, five strokes ahead of Hiroyuki Fujita and Australia’s Paul Sheehan.
“I got off to a good start for the first time in four rounds, so I told myself not to give up for the title until the end,” Ishikawa said. “To my surprise, I found myself making this many birdies. I was in a calm mental state for all 58 strokes.”
The 2009 Japan Tour money leader chipped in from 10 yards for his fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 sixth and went on to make four birdies in a row from the eighth.
“I can see the scores from my four rounds on the scoreboard,” Ishikawa said. “It’s just hard to believe I improved my score from yesterday by 13 strokes.”
Ishikawa broke the Japan Tour record of 59 set by Masahiro Kuramoto in the first round of the 2003 Acom International. On the PGA Tour, Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval share the record at 59. Annika Sorenstam also had a 59 on the LPGA Tour.
In 2000 in a U.S. Open qualifier, Maruyama shot a 13-under 58.
Ishikawa earned $255,000 for his first victory of the season. He first won on the Japan Tour as a 15-year-old amateur at the 2007 Munsingwear Open. Last month at the Masters, he missed the cut by a stroke.