Ryo Ishikawa - photo by NewJapan -GNU licenseRyo Ishikawa, the 19-year-old golf phenom who last week pledged all his 2011 winnings to disaster relief in his home country, jump-started his donation drive by winning $93,320 at the Masters Tournament.

Ishikawa shared 20th place with three golfers, but shot 13 birdies over four days of play, raising an additional $16,549 with his promise to add a bonus for every birdie he makes.

The biggest golfing star in Japan explained that the earthquake was responsible for a new desire to play better, so he wants to give back.

“I wish to be of some assistance to the victims. I’ve received tremendous support from people in Japan, and now it’s my turn to pay my debt of gratitude.”

A tie for 20th was his best finish in a major tournament outside Japan, topping his previous best, a tie for 27th at the 2010 British Open. He was third on Japan’s money list last year with just over $1.82 million.

“I’ve joined the people in the quake-hit areas in recovery efforts. Together we’ll continue to battle against tough times.”

(READ the story at Mainichi Daily News)

Photo by NewJapan -GNU license

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