GOTEMBA, Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Darren Clarke moved back into a share of the lead with tour veteran Hideki Kase after shooting a 7-under-par 65 in the third round of the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters on Saturday.

First-round joint leader Clarke made seven birdies, including two in the final three holes, in a blemish-free round on the Taiheiyo Club’s Gotemba Course as the Northern Irish player moved to 14-under 202 a day after a second-round 71 dropped him five shots off the pace.

With accurate drives and iron play, Clarke hit all the greens in regulation and his deft putting touch gave him birdies at Nos. 3, 6, 8 and 9 in a front-nine 32. The defending champion went on to birdie the 12th, 16th and 18th to draw even with overnight leader Kase, who had a 70 after a pair of 66s.

Kase, who is aiming for his fourth career title, three-putted for a bogey on the second and fifth holes but bounced back to card four birdies to cling to the top of the leaderboard.

Mitsuhiro Tateyama fired a 66 and climbed into third at 11-under 205, followed by Fijian Dinesh Chand (68) and Steven Conran of Australia (69) in a tie for fourth at 207.

Six players stand another stroke back.

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