Ryo Ishikawa is the youngest top prize money winner
In the final golf tournament of the season on Dec 5, Ryo Ishikawa finished 19th. But with that, he broke the record to become the youngest ever top prize money winner at 18 years old. He won 4 tournaments this season. Aside from that on Dec 6, he was awarded for winning in all 9 title including Most Valuable Player.
A 15-year wins a national tourney
On May 20, 15 year old high school student Ryo Ishikawa finished first in a JPG tour in Okayama Prefecture. His score was -12 and because the youngest ever to win a professional tour. But because he played as an amateur, he was not qualified to win the first prize money of 20 million yen. It was given to the runner up.
Japan's first World Cup victory in 45 years
Toshimitsu Izawa and Shigeki Maruyama clinched the World Cup golf competed by countries. The final day took place on Dec 15 in Puerto Vallarta with the US team closely behind. But the team scored 2 strokes better to win.
Aoki first after some years
Japan's veteran golf player Isao Aoki on May 19 won Instinet Classic for 9th Senior PGA title He shot the day's best of 7-under-par 65. The victory is his ninth Senior PGA victory and first in four years.
Maru-chan clinched 2nd win in US
Shigeki Maruyama emerged to first place on the 2nd day of the Byron Nelson Classic in Texas. He finished 14 under or a total 266. Maru-chan earned 864,000 US dollars for first place. It's his 2nd victory in the US, making him just one win short of Isao Aoki who has 3, the most among Japanese men.
Maru-chan wins PGA tour
Japan's popular golf player Shigeki Maruyama clinched the Milwaukee Open on July 15. He finished with a - 18 record, went into a playoff, and won it. It's not only Maruyama's first US PGA tour victory, it's only the second time for a Japanese. Isao Aoki was the first at the Hawaiian Open in 1983.
Fukushima's first U.S.LPGA victory
Akiko Fukushima became the 5th Japanese to clinch a U.S. LPGA tour game. It was on May 23 at the inaugural Philips Invitational in Onion Creek Country Club course. She was in the lead from the first day. On the final day, she scored 71. She won 120 thousand dollars. Fukushima joined the U.S.LPGA tour this season. She is the daughter of a former Taiyo Whales catcher
Kobayashi wins in U.S.LPGA tour
One of Japan's star woman golf players, Hiromi Kobayashi became the winner of the LPGA Rainbow Classic held in Maple Grove, Minnesota on Aug. 23. She defeated American Tracy Hanson in the playoff. This is only the 3rd time Kobayashi clinched an U.S. LPGA tour, but the second time she won in Minnesota.
Aoki's first senior victory in 1998
Japan's most internationally acclaimed golf player clinched the BellSouth Senior Classic in Tennesse, recording a total score of 18 under on June 14. He is 55 year-old Isao Aoki. He was in close competition with Larry Nelson who finished 2 strokes behind. It's Aoki's first win this season, and his total 8th victory in the U.S. senior tour. He earned 195 thousand dollars for winning this time.
Riko wins more awards in the U.S.
22 year-old amateur golf player, Riko Higashio, was granted the Dina Shaw Award on May 22. She has taught homeless children golf voluntarily, and this activity accredited her for the award. Riko is a student of the University of Florida. She is best known among Japanese sports fans as the daughter of Seibu Lions' present manager Osamu Higashio. Besides the Dina Shaw Award, Riko has been selected All American by NCAA and Academic All American for achieving good grades in university. She has been studying in the States since 1995.
Nakajima records albatross
Tomiyuki "Tommy" Nakajima swung a hole-in-one in the 1st hole on May 2, on the 2nd day of the Chunichi Crown golf tournament in Nagoya. He is the first Japanese to pitch the ball directly into the hole with just one swing for a par 4 hole. It is his overall 3rd hole-in-one. However, Tommy was unable to keep his luck that day, finishing that day tied for 6th place.
Maruyama clinches 3rd crown
Chubby, friendly golfer, Shigeki Maruyama was not in such a happy mood on the weekend of the Hitachi Cup. He was troubled by an upset stomach. He apparently contracted a virus from his caddy. The caddy was hospitalized on the 3rd day of the tournament. Maruyama was, however, capable of bearing the pain. He won the top prize money of 100 million yen in the 2nd to the last tourney of the Nippon Series. He has captured the Japan Pro, Japan Pro Match Play tournaments this year which are major golf events of this country. It is his 4th victory this year. The win assures him a post higher than 2nd place in Japan's PGA prize money ranking. He follows Jumbo Ozaki very closely. There is chance for him to come on top if he wins the final game of the year.
Aoki wins a senior tournament title
55 year-old Isao Aoki won the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida on Sept.28. It was actually an incredible victory. He was 50th ranking the first day. He sprang up to 3rd place the following day by hitting 60. That's regarded as the least stroke hit in 18 wholes at a senior tournament. Aoki defeated Gil Morgan in a playoff for his first senior tour victory this season. This is Aoki's 7th overall title in the US senior tour tournaments which he's been taking part since 1992. His prize money this season totalled to 1.03 million dollars at this point.
Oldest Japanese champion
46 year-old Ayako Okamoto broke the record she held herself by winning the Japan Women's Open Golf Championship on June 30. She has become the eldest to win a major event in the Japanese tour by finishing with a 7 over. Okamoto said that this victory has made her very happy. Not only was it because of her age, the Higashi Hirono Golf Club in Hyogo Prefecture, has one of the toughest golf courses in Japan. 3 strokes behind her was Akiko Fukushima, top prize money winner of the 1996 JLPGA tour. Okamoto earned 14 million yen for her 61st career victory.
Jumbo becomes the only Japanese to win 100 tournaments
Jumbo Ozaki won Japan's highest money prize golf event in this country, the Dunlop Phoenix tournament in Miyazaki Prefecture, southern Japan on Nov.17, 1996. He took the crown with a 3 point lead over America's Tom Watson, and his own brother Joe Ozaki. Coincidently, Jumbo won his first tournament at the same course 25 years ago. His 100th career victory is his 7th victory this year. The prize money of 36 million yen has secured his number 1 prize money ranking in Japan for the 10th time.
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