There are two numbers you’re going to need to know in the next few paragraphs, so we might as well start now: 18 and 58.
The first is the age of Ryo Ishikawa, Japanese superstar who has now won seven Japan Tour titles in his career. The second is the score Ishikawa closed with on Sunday at The Crowns, the lowest score ever recorded in a major tour event.
How bananas was the 12-under 58? Ishikawa birdied nine of his first 11 holes, had three in a row on the back nine, and missed a 15-footer on the 18th for 57. 57!!
“I always dreamed of getting a score like this but didn’t think I would do it so fast,” Ishikawa said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but I’m sure it will after a few days.”
Similar to David Duval’s 59 back in 1999, Ishikawa’s 58 came in the final round, when he actually needed to go low. Trailing Shigeki Maruyama by six shots heading into Sunday, Ryo tossed together the 12-birdie performance to actually leapfrog everyone for the win.
It’s interesting to note that Maruyama has one of the only recorded rounds of 58 ever, when he did it in a U.S. Open qualifier in 2000. Earlier this year, Phil Mickelson claimed he put together a 58 in Palm Springs, and the lowest round on the PGA Tour is still 59.
The only difference between Ishikawa’s 58 and Duval, Al Geiberger, and Chip Beck’s 59s, is all of those were shot on a par-72, while Ishikawa did this on a par-70.
Still, talk about insane. If you’ve ever seen a PGA Tour player approach this number in a round, and it usually happens once a year, they nearly always choke like it’s you or me standing over a putt to win a few bucks from a buddy.
For an 18-year-old to do this just shows exactly the kind of talent we are dealing with when speaking of young Ishikawa.