OGAWA, Ibaraki Pref. – Veteran Masahiro Kuramoto set a new Japanese tour record when he carded a superb 12-under-par 59 to take a five-stroke lead after the first round of the Acom International golf tournament on Thursday.
The 48-year-old from Hiroshima, who is gunning for the 29th victory of his career, set fire to Ishioka Golf Club’s 7,046-yard course with 12 birdies in a bogey-free round to better the previous mark set by Noboru Fujiike by one shot.
Fujiike’s 60 came on the first day of the Mitsubishi Galant tournament in 1998.
“I was aware of the record and became nervous from around the eighth hole,” said Kuramoto, who teed off on the back nine of the par-71 course in Ibaraki Prefecture.
“I was thinking about sinking one birdie at a time, and every one of them has become memorable one for me. True, I’m leading now. But you cannot call me a leader unless I remain that way after four days,” Kuramoto added.
Unheralded Mitsunori Harakawa forged a 64 to share second place with India’s Jeev Milkha Singh.
Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand shot a 65 to stand alone in fourth place while Hirofumi Miyase logged a 66 to share fifth place with seven others, including Toru Suzuki and Hajime Meshiai.
Taichi Teshima fashioned a 67 and is in a group tied for 13th with nine others.
Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki carded a 68 and is in another group with nine.
Defending champion Toru Taniguchi shot a 70 to share 52nd with 16 others, including Shingo Katayama.
Current money leader Todd Hamilton of the United States carded a 73 to share 95th with 10 others, including Tsuneyuki “Tommy” Nakajima.
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