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Mika Miyazato shares opening lead

Kyoto

Mika Miyazato began her defense of the Japan Women’s Open title in style Thursday, managing an even-par 70 to share the first-round lead.

The lesser-known Miyazato was tied with Kumiko Kaneda, Taiwan’s Teresa Lu and South Koreans Lee Ji Hee and Jeon Mi Jeong on the famed par-70 Wago Course of Nagoya Golf Club.

She had two birdies and two bogeys on each nine.

“I think I was able to play patiently today,” the 21-year-old Okinawan said.

“I had a hard time laying a tee on the ground at the first hole because my hand was shaking. It’s the first time since I turned pro. I got nervous when I made my pro debut in the U.S. but it was nothing like today. I was relieved when I saw my tee shot hit the fairway. I try not to think about winning. I’ll just take one shot at a time,” she continued.

Ai Miyazato and money leader Ahn Sun Ju were in a tie for 10th place after 72s.