KIKUYO, Kumamoto Pref. – Sakura Yokomine put herself in contention for back-to-back titles with a 4-under 68 in the second round of the Life Card Ladies on Saturday.
The popular 23-year-old moved from a tie for seventh into a share of second with world No. 3 Shin Ji Yai at 3-under 141, one stroke behind Lee Ji Hee at Kumamoto Kuko Country Club.
Yokomine, who won her 10th career Japan LPGA title at the Studio Alice Ladies Open last week, made five birdies — four of them over the final six holes — against a bogey at No. 11.
South Koreans Lee and Shin had rounds of 72 and 69, respectively.
Yuko Mitsuka stood three shots off the lead in fourth, followed by U.S. LPGA player Momoko Ueda a further shot back. Both players carded 70s.
Taiwan’s Julie Lu, who shared the first-round lead with Lee, had a disastrous 82 and tied for 33rd at 6-over.
Jones makes move
KUWANA , Mie Pref. (Kyodo) Australian Brendan Jones carded a 3-under-par 68 to move into a share of the lead with Komei Oda heading into the final round of the season-opening Token Homemate Cup on Saturday.
Jones, an eight-time winner on the Japanese tour, enjoyed a bogey-free journey over Token Tado Country Club’s par-71 course, birdieing the fourth hole before adding an eagle on the par-5 17th to tie Oda atop the leaderboard on 7-under 206.
Oda birdied his final two holes and moved into contention for his second career victory with a 67.
Unheralded Kazuhiro Yamashita shot the day’s low of 66 and was in third place among a quintet featuring overnight coleaders Tadahiro Takayama and Michio Matsumura, who both shot 72s.
Seven players including former U.S. PGA regular Shigeki Maruyama (70) followed in eighth another stroke behind but Australian Craig Parry, who shared the second-round lead with Takayama and Matsumura, struggled to a 75 and dropped into a share of 25th on 210.
Ryo Ishikawa shot his third consecutive 71 and remained tied for 42nd.