KYOTANABE, Kyoto Pref. — Kazuhiro Yamashita set the early pace with a 5-under 65 in the opening round of the Kansai Open on Thursday.
The 36-year-old, yet to win since making his JGTO Tour debut at the 1999 Tsuruya Open, made two birdies and a bogey after starting on the back nine of the par-70 Tanabe Country Club and picked up four shots on his outward nine to establish a one-shot lead over Akio Sadakata.
Hiroo Kawai, Toshinori Muto and Kunihiro Kamii all shot 67s to share third place.
Defending champion Hiroyuki Fujita and Tadahiro Takayama, who is seeking back-to-back titles after ending a five-year drought at the Sun Chlorella Classic earlier this month, were both at 1 over.
Ryo Ishikawa and Yuta Ikeda are both sitting out the ¥50 million event which offers a top prize of ¥10 million.