June 14, 2017 / 6:43 AM / 2 years ago

Yusaku Miyazato ready to step out of sister Ai's shadow

Jun 16, 2016; Oakmont, PA, USA; Yusaku Miyazato hits his tee shot on the 4th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Japan’s Yusaku Miyazato’s recent form suggests the 36-year-old is finally ready to step out of the shadow of his illustrious younger sister Ai in a year the former women’s number one confirmed would be her last as a professional.

In a golfing family from Okinawa, Yusaku and elder brother Kiyoshi had to be content with reflected glory as “Ai-chan” scripted a glittering professional career that included nine LPGA Tour titles and 15 on the domestic circuit.

Ai cited a lack of motivation as her reason for putting away her clubs but Yusaku, who won two titles in Japan this season, appears ready to keep the family flag flying as he targets a strong performance at this week’s U.S. Open in Wisconsin.

“I really, really wanted to compete (at the U.S. Open),” he was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency. “I’ve been consistent in my drives, so with that in mind I can plan my four-day game.”

Yusaku finished 23rd in his U.S. Open debut last year and said he would remember the lessons he learned at the Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania last year when he tees off at Erin Hills on Thursday.

“It was such a tough course and I felt the barriers between myself and the world’s (best players).

“I learned what I had to work on. Since then, my game has changed,” said Yusaku, the first golfer to make two holes-in-one in the same round of a PGA Tour event at the 2006 Reno-Tahoe Open.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien

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