In a month that has seen a 14-year-old (Tianlang Guan) earn an invitation to The Masters, a 19-year-old (Matteo Manassero) win for the third time on the European Tour and a 23-year-old (Rory McIlroy) become the youngest player in 32 years to capture the Order of Merit, 21-year-old Ryo Ishikawa did his part Sunday to remind observers of his awesome potential.
His victory Sunday at the Japan Tour’s big-money Taiheiyo Masters was his 10th career title on that circuit and helped snap a two-year winless drought that saw the Japanese star drop all the way to the 89th in the world before this event. (After the win, he is now 71st.)
Ishikawa, who turned pro in 2008, took up temporary membership on the PGA Tour in 2012, meaning he was eligible to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions this season. In 18 starts, he posted a pair of top-10 finishes and earned $871,051, which would have placed him 108th on the PGA Tour money list. As a result, he has earned fully exempt status on the Tour next season.
“A victory is the best medicine,” he told reporters afterward. “It’s a medicine that gives me confidence. I can go to the United States with confidence.”
Three other players cashed in on their temporary membership status to earn Tour cards in 2013: Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, one of this year’s Ryder Cup revelations; Swede Peter Hanson, a two-time European Tour winner this season; and Englishman David Lynn, who had a surprising runner-up finish at the PGA Championship.