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Kodaira climbs into first place at Japan Golf Tour Championship

Kyodo

Unheralded Satoshi Kodaira carded a 2-under 70 to move into first place after the third round of the weather-hit Japan Golf Tour Championship on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Kodaira, who is winless on the Japanese tour, put together a round that featured three birdies with a lone bogey, moving him to 12-under 204. The 44-year-old Hiroyuki Fujita, winner of last year’s JGTO money title, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and South Korean S.K. Ho trailed one shot behind in a tie for second.

Rookie sensation Hideki Matsuyama, who teed off in 14th, failed to gain any ground at Shishido Hills Country Club in an even-par round which included three birdies, one bogey and a double bogey. The 21-year-old was at 5 under in a share of 21st.

“I wasn’t focused today,” said Matsuyama. “I gave myself a lot of chances with my shots and I felt different than yesterday. If my putts would’ve fallen, I could’ve gotten to maybe 5 or 6 under. I have to just keep pushing.”

Play had to be interrupted for 2 hours, 35 minutes due to thunderstorms in the area.