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Asians complete Royal Trophy team

Record-breaking Japanese schoolboy Ryo Ishikawa has been picked for the Asia team to face Europe at the Royal Trophy early next year, organisers said on Tuesday.

The 17-year-old, one of Japan’s biggest sporting celebrities, became the country’s youngest golfer to pass the $1 million earnings mark on Sunday at the Casio Open.

He will be the youngest player to contest the Royal Trophy after completing captain Joe Ozaki’s eight-man lineup for the Jan. 9-11 event in Chonburi, Thailand.

“I am excited about the prospect of playing for Asia and look forward to working together with my team mates to deliver the best result for our continent,” Ishikawa said in a statement.

He joins compatriots Hideto Tanihara and Toru Taniguchi, South Koreans Charlie Wi and S.K. Ho, Thais Prayad Marksaeng and Thongchai Jaidee and China’s Liang Wenchong on the Asian team.

Ishikawa shot to prominence in May 2007 when he became the youngest winner on the Japanese tour at 15 years, eight months.

“Ryo Ishikawa is a very strong and exciting addition to our Asian team,” said Ozaki. “He shows a level of maturity well beyond his 17 years of age.”

Europe, who won the first two editions, are waiting on the recovery of captain Seve Ballesteros from October brain surgery before naming their team for matchplay contest, which features foursomes, fourballs and singles.

The 2008 edition of the annual event was cancelled following the death of Thai Princess Galyani Vadhana, whose brother, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, donated the trophy in 2006.

December 2, 2008


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