Japanese Tiger bows out without a whimper

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TOKYO, Oct 12 (Reuters) Japanese schoolboy Ryo Ishikawa missed the cut for the first time in four tournaments at the Japan Open today.

The 16-year-old, dubbed the Tiger Woods of Japan, carded a round of 75 to slip to eight over par after 36 holes, missing the cut-off point by one stroke after an opening 77 in Kanagawa.

Ishikawa became the youngest winner on the Japanese men's tour at just 15 years and eight months at the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup in a remarkable first appearance.

His victory shattered the previous record held by Spain's Seve Ballesteros, who won the 1977 Japan Open aged 20 years and seven months.

Japanese golf officials are hoping Ishikawa can rescue the JGTO Tour from the doldrums at a time when sponsorship and interest are on the wane.

REUTERS PDS RK1621

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