Golf-Japan hails schoolboy as world record breaker

TOKYO Mon May 21, 2007 6:44am BST

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TOKYO May 21 (Reuters) - Japanese media hailed 15-year-old schoolboy Ryo Ishikawa as a world record breaker on Monday after his astonishing win at the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

Ishikawa fired 69 and 66 on Sunday's final day of the storm-affected tournament to become the youngest winner on the Japanese men's tour with a one-stoke victory.

At 15 years and eight months, the Saitama-born Ishikawa shattered the previous record held by Spain's Seve Ballesteros, who won the 1977 Japan Open at 20 years and seven months.

"New Hero!" declared the Nikkan Sports while the Sankei Sports went even further, calling Ishikawa "More of a genius than Woods!"

"It still hasn't sunk in yet," a beaming Ishikawa told reporters after edging out Katsumasa Miyamoto to finish on 12 under and mark his JGTO Tour debut in remarkable style.

"I never once looked at the scoreboard. I only knew I was leading after I'd holed out. My dad told me I might have a chance playing 36 holes in one day because of my age."

Ishikawa, a former national junior high school champion, received a sponsor's exemption to play in the event and had to begin his third round on Sunday at a little after 6 a.m.

"There were only about 15 people -- all people I know -- watching me at the start," he said. "It's a dream come true to actually win the tournament.

"I want to play against the world's best players. I want to be like Tiger Woods."

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