• Kyodo

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Daisuke Maruyama took a huge stride toward his first tour title after a flurry of birdies on the back nine gave him a 6-under-par 65 and a seven-stroke lead at the Fujisankei Classic on Saturday.

Starting the day in a tie for second, Maruyama leapfrogged overnight leader I.J. Chang and closed on a three-day total of 13-under 200.

South Korean Chang, whose hole-in-one sent him top of the leaderboard Friday, struggled with bogey-riddled 73 while Craig Jones of Australia was another shot back tied with Shingo Katayama and Takuya Taniguchi on 208.

Maruyama made his first birdie on the third and moved clear of faltering Chang, who dropped three shots through his first seven holes.

The 34-year-old pulled further away with five birdies from the 12th through the 17th to set himself up for his first title since making his pro debut in 1994.

Elsewhere, joint first-round leader Yusaku Miyazato (72) and Toru Taniguchi (73) both struggled to improve their scores and were tied for sixth on 209 with Thailand’s Chawalit Plaphol, who matched par.

Fifteen-year-old amateur Ryota Ito collapsed with a 75 that dropped him into a share of 57th place on 220.

Iijima level with Lee

MIZUNAMI, Gifu Pref. (Kyodo) Akane Iijima carded a 3-under-par 69 to move alongside joint overnight leader Lee Ji Hee in a share of first place after the second round of the Golf 5 Ladies on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Iijima, who turned pro through a qualifying tournament in July, made a blistering start by reeling off four birdies through her first four holes and added another on the ninth before two bogeys after the turn tied her with Lee on 8-under 136.

“I thought I was a bit lucky (with the four birdies) but I tried not to overdo it and got into a good rhythm,” said Iijima, who drained a 45-footer on the par-3 fourth.

“But I took too much of a rest at the interval and my lower body just stopped moving after the turn,” she said.

South Korean Lee stayed in contention for her sixth tour title with a 70 that included five birdies and three bogeys while compatriot Shin Hyun Ju, winner of last week’s Yonex Ladies, was among a group of five players tied for third on 139.

“I made some nice putts on the front nine but my shots weren’t that good today and that’s why I was unable to improve my score,” Lee said.

Lee’s first-round co-leader Yukari Baba faded with a 74 and was tied for eighth on 140 while Yuri Fudo shot a 69 and shared 12th with four others on 141.

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