Japanese rock star Ryo Ishikawa is on his way to Victoria.
Ishikawa, the darling of Japan’s golfing media, has committed to play the ISPS Handa Vic Open from 7-10 February at 13th Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads.
Since bursting on to the world golfing stage as a teenage prodigy, the now 27-year-old has been one of the hottest properties in world golf, but has not played in Australia since 2016's World Cup at Kingston Heath and was previously a part of the International team in the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
Ishikawa, who has won 14 times on his home tour and has been as high as No.29 in the world rankings, said he was keen to see another corner of Australia.
“I’ve been to Melbourne before, but didn’t have time to see any more of Victoria, so I’m really excited to see the Bellarine Peninsula,” Ishikawa said.
“I’ve heard great things about the tournament and its relaxed atmosphere and am looking forward to being in Australia again.”
Golf Australia operations boss Simon Brookhouse was thrilled that such a magnetic player was coming to the Vic Open.
“If you’ve ever been to a tournament where Ryo is playing and watched the throng of attention he attracts from Japanese fans and media, you’ll know exactly how big a deal this is,” Brookhouse said.
“He’s a needle mover, particularly in Japan, and it’s really great to see one of that tour’s great players making his way south to play at 13th Beach.”
It’s another great coup for the concurrent men’s and women’s tournament which, for the first time, will be jointly sanctioned by the LPGA Tour, ALPG, European Tour and ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia.
Brookhouse was excited to also announce that Ryan Fox, of New Zealand, Nic Colsaerts, of Belgium, Paul Dunne, of Ireland, and Italian Matteo Manassero were among the European Tour stars to have committed.
“This is the beauty of having the European Tour as our partner … many of these men played in the World Cup last year, so we have a great depth of talent and there’ll be stars wherever you look in the men’s field this year,” he said.
Entry is free to all Victorian golf club members, but other tickets are on sale through oTix and remain some of the best value in elite sport at $10 per day, $30 for a season pass.
Children under 18 and those with a Seniors Card are free. See vicopengolf.com/ticketing for details.
The ISPS Handa Vic Open, which features equal prizemoney for men and women, is proudly supported by the Victorian Government.
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