Ikeda focuses on money title in Canon Open defense

Yuta Ikeda at the 2010 U.S. Open where he finished T58.

Yuta Ikeda at the 2010 U.S. Open where he finished T58.

KANGAWA, Japan – Yuta Ikeda bids to crank up the pressure on young compatriot Ryo Ishikawa at this week’s 150 million yen (about US$1.8 million) Canon Open.

Ikeda triumphed in last year’s event at the 7,168-yard Totsuka Country Club in Kanagawa Prefecture that was reduced to 54 holes because of inclement weather.

JAPAN TOUR MONEY LIST

  1. Ryo Ishikawa (JPN) ¥74,561,779

  2. Hiroyuki Fujita (JPN) ¥74,425,427

  3. Kim Kyung-tae (KOR) ¥72,514,064

  4. Toru Taniguchi (JPN) ¥63,086,398

  5. Yuta Ikeda (JPN) ¥58,034,664

  6. Shunsuke Sonoda (JPN) ¥56,120,250

  7. Tetsuji Hiratsuka (JPN) ¥51,268,454

  8. Brendan Jones (AUS) ¥50,643,188

  9. Takashi Kanemoto (JPN) ¥48,477,366

  10. Tadahiro Takayama (JPN) ¥45,463,720

In what is shaping up to be one of the most closely-fought battles in years for the Japan Golf Tour money list crown, Ikeda knows that a successful title defense here would catapult him to the top.

With only eight events remaining, Ikeda, who turns 25 in December, is fifth with earnings of 58,034,664 yen, some 16 million yen behind pace-setting Ishikawa.

Last year, Ishikawa, 19, won the money list title with Ikeda finishing No. 2 Ikeda hopes for a role reversal this time; he has drawn alongside Ishikawa for the first two rounds.

Despite notching two victories on his home circuit and making the cut in the Masters and U.S. Open, Ikeda has gone through some inconsistent patches this season.

He has failed to break 70 in the seven tournament rounds he has played since winning the ANA Open last month.

Ishikawa also will be keeping an eye on his closest money list challengers – compatriot Hiroyuki Fujita and Korean Kim Kyung-tae.

Two players looking to continue their recent hot streaks are Australian Brendan Jones, winner of the Asia Pacific Panasonic Open, and Michio Matsumura, surprise winner of last week’s Coca-Cola Tokai Classic at Miyoshi Country Club.

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