• Kyodo

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Unheralded Hirokazu Kuniyoshi forged an 8-under-par 63 Thursday to take sole possession of the clubhouse lead after the first round of the NST Niigata Open.

Kuniyoshi, who is winless in his eighth year on the Japan pro golf tour, rolled in eight birdies, including seven on the back nine, in a bogey-free round for a one-stroke lead over South Korean Kim Jong Duck at the Forest Golf Club.

Makoto Inoue fired a 65 and is a shot further back in a three-way tie for third with Takao Nogami and American Gregory Meyer.

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