MIYAZAKI – Song Bo Bae clung onto her overnight lead after a second straight 1-under-par 71 kept the South Korean one shot clear heading into the final round of the season-ending Japan LPGA Tour Championship on Saturday.
Teeing off with a two-shot advantage, Song had four birdies with three bogeys for a 54-hole total of 5-under 211 while Momoko Ueda closed the gap by carding another 69 to move into second place at Miyazaki Country Club.
Song, who won the opening event of the season at the Daikin Orchid Ladies in March, had a shaky start, dropping two shots through her first five holes before making her first birdie of the day on the sixth.
She settled into a rhythm and picked up three birdies on the back nine but closed with a bogey on the last.
Six-time money title winner Yuri Fudo, who finished runner-up here last year after squandering a five-shot lead on the final day, enjoyed a bogey-free 68 to share third on 213 with Akiko Fukushima and South Korea’s Jeon Mi Jeong, who both carded 71s.
Yuko Mitsuka (69) and defending champion Miho Koga (70) are tied for sixth on 214, while Sakura Yokomine, who won her first title of the season at last week’s Elleair Ladies Open, rebounded from rounds of 73 and 75 with a 68 to tie Lee Ji Woo and Shinobu Moromizato for eighth place.
The ¥100 million four-day tournament features a field made up of players who have won at least one title this season, supplemented by golfers in the top 25 of the money rankings.
Oda still on top
GEISEI , Kochi Pref. (Kyodo) Komei Oda remained on track for a first career victory on the JGTO tour Saturday after a roller-coaster 72 left him four shots clear going into the final round of the Casio World Open.
Oda offset five bogeys with five birdies to finish three rounds on 11-under-par 205, four shots clear of Yusaku Miyazato, Hirofumi Miyase and Kenichi Kuboya, as he maintained the solid lead he took after the opening round at Kochi Kuroshio Country Club.
Ryo Ishikawa, who at 17 has all but ensured himself of becoming the youngest golfer to earn 100 million yen in winnings on the tour, shot his second straight 71 and was seven strokes off the lead in a tie for 10th.
With any of his closest pursuers unable to pose a threat, Oda coasted through the first 10 holes with a birdie and a bogey before experiencing ups and downs the rest of his even-par round, which was capped by a birdie on the par-5 18th following consecutive bogeys.
“Today’s round made me exhausted and was mentally grueling,” the 30-year-old Oda said.
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