YOSHINO, Nara Pref. – Saiki Fujita took sole possession of the Japan LPGA Championship lead after the second round, firing a 4-under 68 Friday to move in front by four strokes at Grandage Golf Club.
Blessed by beautiful weather for the second straight day, Fujita, who started the round one shot out of first, rattled off five birdies against a bogey to put together a total of 9-under 135 in the ¥140 million tournament.
Fujita is ahead of Sakura Yokomine and Hiromi Mogi. Yokomine, runnerup in 2007 and 2008, also shot a 68 on the afternoon in the second major on the calendar.
“I’m really pleased with the way I’ve been playing the last two days,” the 24-year-old Fujita said. “I’m giving myself a pat on the back.
“But I don’t think I’m at much of an advantage. I’ve got to stay focused on each and every shot.”
Overnight leader Shinobu Moromizato had a frustrating 74 for a 4-under 140 total as the defending champion dropped down to a tie for fourth place with Rui Kitada, whose 67 was the best of the round.
Moromizato birdied the fifth hole, but then bogeyed on holes No. 8 and 9. She wrapped up the round with a birdie on the 18th — but only after the two bogeys on the 13th and 15th holes.
Hiromi Takesue (69) was alone in sixth, six shots off the pace of Fujita. Five, including two-time champion Yuri Fudo (69), shared seventh place with a 2-under 142.
Japan in front
JEJU , South Korea (Kyodo) Ryo Ishikawa and Shunsuke Sonoda teamed up in a foursome Friday to help stake Japan to a 3-2 lead over South Korea after the opening day of the Hyundai Capital Invitational.
Ishikawa and Sonoda, who faced each other in a heated playoff just five days ago in a Japanese tour event, shot a 5-under 67 for the day’s low at Heavichi Country Club on the resort island of Jeju.
“Sonoda and I played well last weekend, so we still had the momentum going,” Ishikawa said. “The Koreans are always tough in international competitions.
“To have the opportunity to play them in a competitive event means a lot to me.”
Daisuke Maruyama and Kaname Yokoo had a 70 to win their match for Japan. Shingo Katayama and Yuta Ikeda were also on the winning side with the same score.
Fourballs will be played Saturday before the countries wrap up the tournament with singles matches on Sunday.
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