KAMO – Unheralded Akane Iijima took the lead with a 4-under-par 68 but Yuri Fudo made a disastrous start in her quest for back-to-back titles with a 78 in the first round of the Kinmirai Tsuushin Queens Open on Friday.
Iijima, 22, made four birdies and two bogeys before a superb eagle on the 17th and a par-putt on the last hole at Kagoshima Takamaki Country Club gave her a one-shot lead over Yuriko Otsuka.
Otsuka was alone in second while veteran Ikuyo Shiotani, Kasumi Fujii, Yumiko Baba and Chieko Amanuma all shot 70s to sit another stroke back.
Australian Nikki Campbell was among a group of five golfers who carded 71s while Sakura Yokomine finished the first round on even par for a share of 12th place.
Aiming for her seventh consecutive money title, Fudo scored her first title of the season at last week’s Accordia Golf Ladies but hopes of a repeat victory here took an early hit after an uncharacteristically poor start.
Fudo began her round with two bogeys and made the turn at 38 but showed no signs of recovering after the turn and dropped four shots through her last five holes to finish in a tie for 75th.