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Ishikawa Earns Tour Card for 2013


While dozens of players were sweating it out in Florida in the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic to retain their PGA Tour cards for next year, Ryo Ishikawa won the Taiheiyo Masters on the Japanese Tour to reserve his place on the American circuit in 2013.

Though only 21, the Japanese player has already racked up 10 career victories - all on the Japan Golf Tour, with his first title coming when he was a mere 15 years old.

After such an auspicious start at such a young age, great things were predicted for Ishikawa, a superstar known in his home country as the "Bashful Prince." But the win Sunday was his first since 2010, in the same event. "Two years, indeed. It's been a bit too long," Ishikawa told reporters. "My desire to win has made even a 10-centimeter (four-inch) putt difficult."

Now the youngster can rest easier after the long-awaited win, his future much more settled. "It changes the way I perceive everything," he said. "A victory is the best medicine. It's a medicine that gives me confidence. I can go to the United States with confidence," added Ishikawa, who played in the States this year with Special Temporary Status.

With $871,051 in 18 events on the PGA Tour in 2012, Ishikawa would have finished 108th on the money list and is thus eligible for fully exempt status after ending up in the top-125 in non-member earnings. He's now looking forward to entering as many PGA Tour events as possible in 2013.

But there are still three tournaments left on the Japan Tour's 2012 calendar, including the Dunlop Phoenix and Casio World Open, each of which carries a $2.5 million purse. "If I have another win in the remaining three tournaments, it will really make my recovery complete," added Ishikawa.

Ishikawa held a world golf ranking of 89th before the Taiheiyo Masters but jumped to 71st with the win Sunday. His best finish in a major is a T-20 in the 2011 Masters.