Fit-again Ishikawa set to get into swing in Singapore

Japan's Ryo Ishikawa is predicting a good result at next week's SMBC Singapore Open after overcoming back issues. He finished in a tie for 47th place last year and was joint-16th in 2018. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Japan's Ryo Ishikawa is predicting a good result at next week's SMBC Singapore Open after overcoming back issues. He finished in a tie for 47th place last year and was joint-16th in 2018. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Popular Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa has fired a warning to his rivals ahead of the Jan 16-19 SMBC Singapore Open.

Ishikawa, who had three wins last year, said that he is swinging more freely than during his previous visits to the Sentosa Golf Club and predicted even better results this year.

"I feel very good about my physical condition now," said the 28-year-old, whose well-documented back problems restricted his movement. "I can swing the way I want to swing. I (hope) to do much more this season."

He will join Major winners Justin Rose of England and Sweden's Henrik Stenson, American Matt Kuchar, a multiple winner on the PGA Tour, and in-form defending champion Jazz Janewattananond in the elite field. The event is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.

Ishikawa has drawn big crowds in his previous two appearances at Sentosa and treated the fans to some inspired golf last year with rounds of 69 and 66 to lie joint second at the halfway mark before fading over the weekend.

He shot to fame in May 2007 when he became the youngest winner on the Japanese circuit at 15 years and eight months at the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup, his first event on the Japan Tour.

He turned professional the following year, winning eight tournaments in a two-year spell, with four of those victories coming in 2009.

His career was interrupted by a back injury in 2016 but he appeared to return to form last year.

He claimed the Japan PGA Championship in early July, followed by the Sega Sammy Cup in August before sealing the season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup last month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'Fit-again Ishikawa set to get into swing in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe