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Taniguchi opens up three-shot lead at Japan PGA

by Hiroki Noda

Kyodo

Seasoned veteran Toru Taniguchi didn’t feel like he had an under-par round but still posted a 2-under 70 Friday to take a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the Japan PGA Championship.

Taniguchi, who counts three majors among his 17 JGTO Tour wins, had a 9-under 135 total, while crowd favorite Ryo Ishikawa missed the cut by two strokes at Karasuyamajo Country Club in Tochigi Prefecture.

As he did in the first round, Taniguchi birdied all four par-5 holes and made two other birdies against four bogeys.

But the 44-year-old was disgusted with the way he finished the round.

“I made so many silly errors, I didn’t feel like I shot under par today,” said Taniguchi, the 2010 winner of the tournament. “I made a lot of birdies, but those bogeys ruined my day.

“I missed the green with my second shot on the (par-4) 18th and wound up with a bogey. That was embarrassing. Even amateur golfers can hit the green from where I hit.

“I want to play more aggressively, but I can’t do that when I’m hitting the ball like today. I have to fix my mechanics for the final two rounds.”

Keiichiro Fukabori matched the day’s low with a bogey-free 66 to sit alone in second.

He produced a birdie-birdie finish while making the cut for the first time in four events this season.

“I couldn’t control the distance of my shots earlier this season,” Fukabori said. “But I’ve finally found my distance control. My ball striking and putting were both solid today.”

Yoshikazu Haku (68), Akinori Tani (69), Yasuki Hiramoto (69) were tied for third at 5 under.

Yuta Ikeda barely made the cut as a 69 put him at 1 over, but Ishikawa finished two more strokes behind after a 73.

The top 62 players advanced to the weekend. The winner will earn ¥30 million from the ¥150 million yen Sunday as well as a five-year exemption on the tour.

Feng opens with 67

FUKUOKA
Kyodo

China’s Feng Shanshan took the opening-round lead at the Fudokin Ladies with a bogey-free 67 on Friday.

Feng dropped five birdies at the Fukuoka Country Club to finish the day three strokes ahead of Park In Bee of South Korea. Sitting one shot behind Park are four others, including Ahn Sun Ju, who is aiming for a victory for the second straight weekend.

Ahn won the World Salonpas Cup last week for the second straight year in a playoff over Park and Morgan Pressel.

The best Japanese performers of the round were Mihoko Iseri and Rikako Morita, who joined Ahn and another Korean, Jeon Mi Jeong, in third place. Defending champion Miki Saiki was off to a rough start, shooting a 6-over 75.