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Strong start enough for Uehara

Kyodo

Ayako Uehara tied a Japan LPGA Tour record with a front-nine 29 to win the Nichi-Iko Ladies Open on Sunday for her third career title.

The 27-year-old Okinawa native shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 16-under 200, one stroke clear of South Korean Song Bo Bae at Yatsuo Country Club.

Uehara got off to a blistering start with five straight birdies and led Song by three after adding birdies on the seventh and ninth holes.

On the back nine, Uehara went without a single birdie and made her only bogey of the day at No. 17.

But Song, who entered the final round with a one-shot lead, was unable to catch Uehara at the top of the leaderboard as she matched pars on the last seven holes for a bogey-free 68.

“This is my first title in a long while, and it made me realize again just how good it feels to win,” Uehara said. “I feel like I’m a better player both technically and mentally than when I won my first two tournaments.”