YOKOHAMA – Money leader Ryo Ishikawa gained ground Friday, firing his second straight 69 to move one shot behind a group of five sharing the lead after the second round of the Canon Open.
Ryuichi Oda matched the day’s low in a round of 66 and was tied atop the leaderboard with South Korean Hur In Hoi (66), Kiyoshi Murota (67), Han Lee (68) and Shinichi Yokota (68) at 7-under 137.
Teeing off two strokes back, Ishikawa made five birdies against two bogeys, placing him in a tie for sixth with Yoshikazu Haku and Hirohito Koizumi at Totsuka Country Club.
“The leaders are going lower but I was able to keep pace with them,” said Ishikawa, who is seeking his third win on the tour this year. “I think I can be in contention for the title.”
Ishikawa made his charge on the back nine with four birdies in an eight-hole stretch before bogeying the par-4 18th.
Last week’s Tokai Classic winner Michio Matsumura (68) was in a share of ninth at 5 under while defending champion Yuta Ikeda and Shunsuke Sonoda were a further stroke back.
A total of 63 golfers made the cut at 2 over to advance to the weekend rounds. Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Wednesday, failed to make the cut by two strokes after a round of 74.
Park, Jeon tied
TAKASAKI , Gunma Pref. (Kyodo) South Koreans Park In Bee and Jeon Mi Jeong shot 4-under 68s to share the first-round lead at the Sankyo Ladies Open on Friday.
Park, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion, made four birdies and an eagle through 14 holes before stumbling to back-to-back bogeys from the 16th at Yoshii Country Club.
Jeon, who picked up her third win of the season at the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic last month, birdied five of the first seven holes. She finished with six birdies and two bogeys.
Money leader Ahn Sun Ju, also of South Korea, was one stroke back, along with Yuri Fudo, Yukari Baba, Chie Arimura and Mayu Hattori.
Hwang Ah Reum sat alone in eighth place, two behind the co-leaders.
World No. 1 Ai Miyazato is not defending her title as she is back on the U.S. LPGA Tour, playing in Alabama this week.