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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Meanwhile, a Thousand Miles Away...

Actually, the Trump International Golf Course in Puerto Rico is more like 1050 miles from the Blue Monster. Am I the only one who finds it interesting that Donald Trump owns both PGA Tour stops this week? But I digress...

As Justin Rose and Bubba Watson battled with brightly-colored drivers, and Keegan Bradley tried to muscle his way into yet another final round battle, Ryo Ishikawa quietly pursued his own quest for his first PGA Tour victory.

Ryo Ishikawa in Puerto Rico

Obviously, Ryo didn't qualify for the WGC this week. He's been granted an invitation to the Masters, but in the meantime he's trying to get his card the old-fashioned way, as John Houseman used to say. And he isn't doing too badly either.

Here's the deal: Ryo is tied for fifth place at -10. George McNeill is leading at -13, and McNeill has proven he can get the job done. (Granted, he's only got one PGA Tour victory, but that's one more than Ryo.) The biggest threat is probably Henrik Stenson, who's at -12 and has a couple of Tour victories -- the 2009 TPC and the 2007 WGC-Accenture -- as well as some European Tour victories. He got into this position by shooting -7 in the 3rd round. In fact, everybody who's tied with or ahead of Ryo shot better than him on Saturday except for 2nd round leader Matt Jones. He shot even par.

In case you haven't seen any of the tournament, here are a couple of news articles on it -- a Washington Post article from Friday (from which I got the photo) and an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article from Saturday.

But I think the best news for Ryo comes from this fantasy golf site. It says that he's T1 in Putts per Round and is T7 in Total Putting. If it holds up, that could be the number that gives Ryo a Tour card.

Well, that and the 1000 miles that separates him from the guys with the most Tour experience. A guy's gotta start somewhere.

And there are certainly worse places to start than Puerto Rico. Good luck, Ryo.

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