• Kyodo


Veteran Kiyoshi Murota reeled off 10 birdies en route to a course record 10-under-par 62 Saturday to take a six-shot lead over American Ben Curtis heading into the final round of the Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters.

Teeing off in sixth place, Murota, a five-time winner on the Japanese tour, had four birdies through his first five holes before completing a superb bogey-free round with six more birdies on the back nine of the Taiheiyo Masters Club for a 54-hole total of 17-under 199.

Overnight leader Curtis, who in July became the first PGA tour rookie in 90 years to win a major championship in his first attempt at the British Open, had two birdies before bogeying the 17th for a 71.

Toshimitsu Izawa, who opted out of the World Cup in the United States to appear at this tournament, had a 2-under 70 and was tied in third another shot back with Tsuyoshi Yoneyama and Tomohiro Kondo.

South Korean Kim Jong Duck fired a 66 and was among another trio of golfers, including defending Taiheiyo Masters champion Tsuneyuki Nakajima, in sixth on 207.

Elsewhere, money rankings leader Todd Hamilton of the U.S. was 13 strokes off the lead in a five-way tie for 17th with Shingo Katayama and Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki.

Fujii rises to top

CHONAN, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) Kasumi Fujii claimed sole possession of the lead at 7-under-par 137 on Saturday while defending champion Yuri Fudo remained two shots clear to keep alive hopes of another heated duel between the two heading into the final round of the Itoen Ladies.

The 18-year-old Ai Miyazato, who had nearly 120 reporters trying to get a glimpse of her pro debut Friday at Great Island Club, failed to make the cut at 148 by recording her second straight over-par score.

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