• Kyodo


Keiichiro Fukabori shot a 7-under-par 64 in another bogey-free round Friday to climb into a tie for the lead with Jun Kikuchi after two rounds of the Aiful Cup.

Fukabori, who has won six tournaments on the Japanese tour, made seven birdies with solid iron play on his way to a 10-under 132 total at the par-71 Daisen Ark Country Club in Tottori Prefecture.

The 2003 Japan Open champion capped his round by holding a bunker shot for birdie at the 18th, the only hole where he missed the green in regulation.

“I haven’t been in good form recently and that made me play safe golf for the purpose of making the cut,” Fukabori said. “This course and greens suit my game and I think I can take a positive mental approach from it.”

Kikuchi fired his second straight 66 with five birdies and matched Fukabori by going 36 holes without a dropped shot.

“Playing 36 holes without a bogey is my first experience in a tournament,” said Kikuchi, who is winless in his 10-year professional career. “My putting has been good this week and it makes me feel less pressure when I hit approach shots to the greens.”

First-round leader Daisuke Maruyama followed his opening 64 with a 69 that put him in a tie for second with Tatsuhiko Takahashi and Masayuki Kawamura at 9-under 133, one stroke off the pace. Takahashi and Kawamura both had 64s.

Tour veteran Katsunari Takahashi followed a further shot back.

Fifteen-year-old Ryota Ito was the only amateur to advance to the final two rounds after going 4-under.

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