Friday, March 20, 2009

All eyes, camera lenses and sunglasses (Transitions, I presume) will be trained on the 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, the Japanese wunderkind who is in position to both play on the weekend and, dare we say, move into contention to win. He shot a smooth 69 on Thursday to trail first-round leader Jim Furyk by four shots. Let's look at his chances to play on the weekend.
In his favor? Ishikawa made his PGA Tour debut last month at Riviera, where he missed the cut but surely got rid of some nervous energy. Ishikawa says he doesn't mind playing before a large group of media folk, and he will have them Friday. He doesn't have to go crazy low to make the cut. A solid, professional round of golf will get it done.
Against him? If Ishikawa does get nervous, it could show up in his accuracy, and his round could get away from him quickly. The rough here is dark and dense, a certified bogey maker. Ishikawa has to wait half the day to play -- he tees off in the last grouping, at 2:26 p.m local time -- and that leaves a lot of time to think.
I'll also be watching the confounding Adam Scott, who shot a three-over 74 and is getting next to nothing out of his game. I was in Irving, Texas, last year when he won the Byron Nelson. Scott's caddie, Tony Navarro, talked about the victory being a springboard for the U.S. Open. Scott finished tied for 26th at Torrey Pines and hasn't won since. Scott will have to hustle Friday to make the cut, and nobody wants to miss cuts this close to the Masters.

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