TERADOMARI, Niigata Pref. – Money-rankings leader Yuri Fudo produced a personal best 8-under-par 64 to tie the course record and take the lead after the first round of the Yonex Ladies on Friday.
Fudo, the Japanese LPGA money queen for the past two seasons, sank eight birdies in a blemish-free round to establish a two-shot advantage over Kaori Higo, winner of last week’s New Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ladies.
Aiming to defend the Yonex title she claimed here last year, the 25-year-old from Kumamoto had three birdies over the front nine and turned up the heat after the turn with five more birdie putts ranging from three to 15 feet to complete a “perfect” 18 holes.
“I couldn’t really find any fault with my game on the putting green today,” Fudo said.
Veteran Ikuyo Shiotani was a further stroke back at 67.
Tour unknowns at top
SHIMA, Fukuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Little-known Kazuhiro Shimizu and Tomonori Takahashi shot 5-under-par 67s on Thursday to stand on top of the leaderboard for the first time in their careers at the Hisamitsu-KBC Augusta.
Shimizu carded seven birdies against a pair of bogeys, while Takahashi made eight birdies with a double-bogey and a bogey.
Hiroyuki Fujita leads a group of five golfers, including the Philippines’ Frankie Minoza, at 68. Japan PGA Championship titlist Kenichi Kuboya is another shot behind with six others after a 69.
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