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MIKI, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Teenage star Ai Miyazato moved into position for her fourth title of the season by firing a 4-under-par 68 to take a three-shot lead after the second round of the Masters GC Ladies on Saturday.

The 19-year-old from Okinawa made five birdies against one bogey for the day’s low score at Masters Golf Club, leapfrogging overnight leader Miho Koga into top spot on a 36-hole total of 7-under 137.

Teeing off one stroke back, Miyazato opened her round with a birdie on the first hole and overtook Koga when she rolled in a six-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth.

A poor third shot led to Miyazato’s only bogey on the par-5 eighth but she quickly regrouped to sink a superb 36-footer on the ninth. She made two more birdies on the 10th and 12th and matched par the rest of the way to set herself up for the title.

Koga, who is seeking her first win of 2004, stayed on the heels of Miyazato until she triple-bogeyed the 17th and slipped into second with a 72.

Midori Yoneyama (71) and Akiko Fukushima (72) were among a quartet of golfers another shot back on 141 while Shiho Oyama and Yuka Irie shared seventh on 142.

Smail, Imai grab share

CHIBA (Kyodo) David Smail of New Zealand and Katsumune Imai moved into a tie for the lead with overnight leader Tadahiro Takayama after three rounds of the Bridgestone Open on Saturday.

Smail, runnerup at last week’s Japan Open, shot a 66 and Imai had a 68 while Takayama clung onto the head of the field after a 69 en route to a 13-under-par total of 203 at Sodegaura Country Club in Chiba Prefecture.

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