While the PGA Championship is quintessentially American, the PGA of America also takes pride in the fact it welcomes more international golfers than any other American tournament, with 71 foreign players in the field, from 21 countries.

Emphasising the point from the outset was Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa, who took the early lead on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island this morning when he birdied his first three holes.

A round with an impressive seven birdies was countered by four bogeys though, so three under par was where Ishikawa finished.

“I had seven birdies but four bogeys, so I made several mistakes,” said Ishikawa, 20, Japan’s idolised ‘Bashful prince’.

“I only had one and a half practice rounds this week, so I was a bit nervous at the start, but I really enjoyed playing with Darren [Clarke] and Gary [Woodland].

I have missed the cut in the last three majors so I am very happy right now. Tomorrow I would like to make the cut, and then perhaps I can get into contention on the weekend.”

“I like the golf course,” added Ishikawa, who leads the Asian challenge here so far.

“It looks like a British links, and it is windy like the Open, but the course plays differently, as the ground is soft.”

Ishikawa is among the late starters for the second round, teeing off at 1:10pm (US Eastern time).

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, official car of the 2012 PGA Championship