The Japanese teen sensation played bogey-free golf for the first 13 holes, posting four birdies during that time. But he could not shake the pesky South African. Ishikawa was just 1 up through 13 before suffering his first bogey of the day at the 14th to square the match. That's when Schwartzel could feel the momentum turning. He took his first lead of the match with an up-and-down for birdie at the short par-4 15th.
Ishikawa responded with his own birdie at the par-3 16th with a great tee shot that landed inside five feet. But he then bogeyed the 17th when he found the rough with his approach shot. With a chance to win in regulation, though, Schwartzel stumbled at the 18th when he three-putted. On the 20th hole, the par-5 second, Ishikawa hit a wayward tee shot, missed the green with his approach shot and failed to save par with an eight-foot putt. This is Schwartzel's third consecutive first-round victory in as many starts.
What that summation didn't mention were Ryo's trousers.
Tablecloth plaid in pale turquoise, they generated tons of buzz on Twitter, and the showy style statement was proof positive that the Japanese champion is not about to change his sartorially whimsical ways. And though he'll be missed by many this weekend as Match Play continues without him, we can definitely look forward the possibility of some Ishikawa brilliance at the Masters in a few weeks.
Thanks, yet again, to Noriko Yamada for continuous Ryo updates!
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America