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Toru Taniguchi got off to a strong start at the Nippon Series JT Cup on Thursday after his first victory of the season at the Casio World Open last week.

Taniguchi had an eagle, five birdies and a bogey en route to taking a three-stroke lead over Naomichi Ozaki, Shinichi Yokota and Satoru Hirota with a 6-under-par 64 in the first round of the season-ending event at Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club.

“My shots have improved, and I made some key putts today,” Taniguchi said. “With my first win of the year at the Casio World Open, my confidence level has gone up. I want to finish the season in a good way.”

Last week, U.S. teenage sensation Michelle Wie missed the cut by a stroke against the men at the Casio World Open, where Taniguchi went on to win his first title since the 2004 Bridgestone Open.

On Thursday, Taniguchi sank a 13-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first and eagled the par-5 sixth after reaching the green in two shots. He had his only bogey of the day at the seventh, but added four more birdies, including a chip-in on the par-4 ninth.

Keiichiro Fukabori, Ryoken Kawagishi and three others were tied for fifth place at 2-under 68. Defending champion Paul Sheehan of Australia shot a 71 for joint 14th place.

Shingo Katayama, the money winner for the second straight year, made his first tournament appearance in four weeks after being sidelined with strained back muscles but opened with 74 and was in a three-way tie for 23rd in the 27-man field.

The 100 million yen tournament offers a winner’s paycheck of 30 million yen.

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