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Fujii grabs 1-shot lead at Kinmirai Tsuushin Queens Open

Kyodo

Tour veteran Kasumi Fujii shot her second straight 2-under-par 70 to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds in the Kinmirai Tsuushin Queens Open on Saturday.

Fujii, a 10-time winner on the Japan LPGA tour, made four birdies and two bogeys in steady rain as she moved to a 4-under 140 at Kagoshima Takamaki Country Club, setting herself up for her first title since claiming three victories last year.

Yuriko Otsuka and first-round leader Akane Iijima followed in a tie for second at 141. Otsuka shot a 72 and Iijima had a 73.

“My putts wouldn’t go in the hole but I felt very good with the birdie putt at No. 15,” Fujii said of a 25-footer on the par-3 hole that put her at the top of the leaderboard.

“I like this course, which requires players to hit tee shots with pinpoint accuracy, and rain usually helps me play solidly with a very cautious approach,” added the 38-year-old.

Otsuka, whose only victory came at the 2004 Itoen Ladies, made up for three dropped shots through 10 holes with three straight birdies from the 15th that helped her remain tied for second.

Iijima, who turned pro last summer, failed to cling onto the lead but stayed in contention for a first career win thanks to an eagle on the par-4 ninth, where she holed a 7-iron from 135 yards.

Chieko Amanuma finished the day two shots off the pace after a 72, one stroke in front of four players tied at 1-under 143, including Sakura Yokomine who had a 71.

Yuri Fudo, the JLPGA money title winner the previous six years, narrowly made the cut after moving up to 43rd with a second-round 72 that followed her opening 78. Fudo won last week’s Accordia Golf Ladies.