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Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014
Golf

Giving back in a big way

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Ryo Ishikawa first made people take notice because of his golf. He won his first Japan Golf Tour event as a 15-year-old amateur, won the money title at 17 and last year became the first player to shoot 58 on a major tour.

His latest eye-opening feat brought attention to his heart.

Wanting to do his part to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated his native Japan, Ishikawa decided to donate his entire tournament earnings this year - plus a bonus for every birdie he makes - toward relief efforts.

"I don't view this as pressure to perform, but it will instead be extra motivation for me," Ishikawa said. "I always believe in myself, but because I am playing for the people of Japan, I feel like I will be playing with a greater purpose this year."

Ishikawa, who at 19 already has nine wins on the Japan Golf Tour, was third on Japan's money list last year with just over $1.82 million.

He also has pledged about $1,200 (100,000 yen) for every birdie. He led the Japanese tour last year with 341 birdies, which would amount to more than $400,000.

Even in a sport driven by charity, Ishikawa's generosity caught the attention of his colleagues.

"It's the most unbelievable gesture ever, isn't it?" Geoff Ogilvy said. "I saw it fly past (Wednesday) on Twitter and I thought, 'Ah, that's nice.' About five minutes later I said, 'Hang on a minute. All his prize money?' Which is ridiculous for anybody, but for someone who's 19 to have that level of thought for others ... amazing."

PGA TOUR: Jimmy Walker tied the course record with a 9-under 63 to take a two-shot lead over Josh Teater and Nick O'Hern after the first round of the Houston Open.

Walker matched the record set by Johnson Wagner and Adam Scott in the first round of the 2008 tourney. Wagner went on to win that year.

Chris Kirk was three back after a 66, and Steve Stricker, John Rollins, Nathan Green and Brendan Steele shot 67s and were four behind.

LPGA TOUR: Seminole's Brittany Lincicome and Stacy Lewis overcame the stifling desert heat for 6-under 66s to take the first-round lead at the Kraft Nabisco in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Sandra Gal and Mika Miyazato were one shot back at the LPGA Tour's first major of the year.

Lincicome is the 2009 Kraft Nabisco champ; Lewis is still looking for her first LPGA victory.

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