KITAHIROSHIMA, Hokkaido – Taiwan’s Yeh Wei-tze brandished a hot putter as he forged a 6-under-par 66 on Friday to grab a four-stroke lead going into the final two rounds of the 100 million yen ANA Open golf tournament.
Teeing off on the back nine at Sapporo Golf Club two strokes off the pace, Yeh, gunning for his first tour victory in Japan, birdied three straight holes starting from the 12th before suffering a lone bogey on the 15th.
The 30-year-old, however, quickly recovered and added four more birdies the rest of the way for a 36-hole total of 11-under 133 over the Wattsu Course’s 7,063-yard layout in Kitahiroshima.
Overnight co-leader Taichi Teshima matched par to share second place with Australian Paul Sheehan (71) at 137.
Hirofumi Miyase carded a 68 and is tied for fourth place at 138 with Kiyoshi Maita (70) and Frankie Minoza of the Philippines (70).
Defending champion Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki shot a 71 and is in a big group tied for 12th at 141, including Shingo Katayama (68) and Toru Taniguchi (70).
Ryoken Kawagishi, the other overnight co-leader, shot a fat 78 and tumbled into a tie for 30th at 143 with 12 others.
But current money leader Todd Hamilton managed only a 75 and failed to make the cut at 149 along with the 66-year-old Teruo Sugihara (81).
A field of 64 players survived the cut at 1-over 145 and advanced to the final two rounds in pursuit of the 20 million yen winner’s purse on Sunday.
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