MIHAMA, Aichi Pref. – Defending champion Sakura Yokomine shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to share the lead with veteran Midori Yoneyama after the opening round of the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic.
Yokomine eagled the par-5 fifth hole and went on to make five birdies before having her only bogey of the day on the 18th at Minami-Aichi Country Club.
“It was a pretty good first day,” the 2009 JLPGA money leader said. “I’d give myself a 90 out of a 100. I missed some birdie opportunities that I should have made. I think I could’ve gone even lower.”
“I feel comfortable playing on this course since I won here last year. I think you’re going to see a lot of birdies from the field this weekend.”
Yoneyama, seeking her first victory in three years, carded seven birdies and one bogey.
Yoshimi Koda was one shot behind the coleaders along with South Koreans Kim Na Ri and Song Bo Bae.
Three-time winner Yuri Fudo opened her latest campaign with a 68 to sit alone in sixth.
KITAHIROSHIMA , Hokkaido (Kyodo) Ryo Ishikawa gave himself a lukewarm celebration on his 19th birthday, shooting a 73 that left him six strokes off the pace after the second round of the ANA Open on Friday.
Ishikawa ended the day in a 13-way tie for 22nd place with a 1-under 143 at the Sapporo Golf Club.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand surfaced at the top of the leaderboard with a 4-under 68. He had six birdies and two bogeys for a 7-under 137 total, one shot ahead of Akio Sadakata (68).
American Jay Choi was a further shot back in third after a 67.
Tied for fourth at 4 under were Shunsuke Sonoda (67), Yoshikazu Haku (69), Tetsuya Haraguchi (70) and Frankie Minoza (71) of the Philippines.
Overnight leader Hiroo Kawai struggled to a 77, dropping into a share of 35th with 11 others at even par.