• Kyodo

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Defending champion Ryo Ishikawa remained in close contention at the Coca-Cola Tokai Classic on Friday as a bogey-free 4-under 68 left him two strokes behind coleaders Park Sung Joon and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Ishikawa was in a five-way tie for fourth with a 4-under 140 total at the midway point of the tournament at Miyoshi Country Club.

Ishikawa cited putting as a factor in his solid performance.

“I’ve been able to get putts close from long range like 15 to 30 feet lately,” he said.

“I expect the winning score will be double digits under par. I try to keep in my mind an image of wiping out a two-shot deficit.”

South Korean Park shot the day’s low round with a 66 that featured an eagle and six birdies. Thailand’s Kiradech shot his second straight 69.

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