Fukushima in contention for 24th career title


Akiko Fukushima fired a course record-tying 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a one-shot into the final round of the Masters GC Ladies.

Seeking her 24th title on the Japan LPGA tour, Fukushima birdied the second and fifth holes before picking up six strokes in a four-hole stretch on the back nine to reach 9-under 135 at Masters Golf Club.

The 36-year-old, three shots behind overnight leader Shinobu Moromizato at the start of the day, made eagles either side of birdies on Nos. 13 and 14, with her only bogey of the day coming on the 17th.

Money leader Moromizato was alone in second after a 69.

Yukari Baba (68) and South Korea’s Lim Eun A (69) tied for third at 6-under.

U.S. LPGA money leader Shin Ji Yai and Stacey Lewis shot 70s to sit in a four-way tie for seventh, two shots further back.

Yokoo takes control

CHIBA (Kyodo) Kaname Yokoo fired an 8-under 64 on Saturday to storm into the lead after the third round of the Bridgestone Open.

Brandishing a hot putter, Yokoo set Sodegaura Country Club ablaze with eight birdies in a flawless round to move to 13-under 203, one stroke clear of Shingo Katayama.

Yokoo began the day five shots off the pace but he birdied his first two holes and made up further ground by picking up two more shots on the sixth and eighth to make the turn at 9-under.

The 37-year-old continued his assault on his inward journey, making birdies on Nos. 10, 13, 15 and 18 to put himself in contention for his first title since the 2006 Mitsubishi Diamond Cup.

“The winds have been difficult to judge both today and yesterday but I have been playing good golf from the first round,” said Yokoo.

Katayama, the 2007 Bridgestone Open champion, had five birdies and two bogeys in a 69 to stay in the hunt for his first win of the season.

Yuta Ikeda, who shared the overnight lead with Komei Oda, shot a 71 and dropped into a tie for third on 11-under with last week’s Japan Open winner Ryuichi Oda (68) Masanori Kobayashi (67) and Kenichi Kuboya (68).

Money leader Ryo Ishikawa matched par and the 18-year-old closed at 2-under in a tie for 40th.