• Kyodo

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Unheralded Masayuki Kawamura forged a 6-under-par 65 Thursday for a two-stroke sole lead after the first round of the 100 million yen Suntory Open in Chiba Prefecture.

Teeing off on the back nine at Sobu Country Club in Inzai, the 36-year-old Kawamura brandished a hot putter as he got off to a birdie-par-birdie start and one-putted for birdies on Nos.

14, 16 and 17 before suffering a lone bogey on the 18th. Kawamura added two more birdies after making the turn over the par-71, 7,155-yard course.

Hiroyuki Fujita scattered five birdies against a bogey en route to a 67 to stand alone in second place, while Nobuhito Sato carded a 68 to share third with four others, including Australian Steven Conran.

KONAN, Saitama Pref. (Kyodo) Michie Oba and Kozue Azuma, who are both in the 10th year of their careers and teed off among the earliest group at 7:20 a.m., shot 6-under-par 66s to share the lead after the opening round of the Japan LPGA Championship on Thursday.

Oba carded six birdies in a bogey-free round while Azuma eagled the par-4 fifth and produced five birdies against a lone bogey to start off the four-day tournament at Taiheiyo Club and Associates in Saitama Prefecture.

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