CHIBA (Kyodo) Toru Taniguchi fired a 6-under 66 to take the sole lead after the first round of the Bridgestone Open on Thursday.
Taniguchi, who is aiming for his second win this season after his victory at the Japan PGA Championship in May, made eight birdies against two bogeys to sit atop the leaderboard with a group of seven golfers, including defending champion Yuta Ikeda, chasing one stroke back at Sodegaura Country Club.
Taniguchi birdied four of his first seven holes before a bogey on the par-3 17th. He picked up one shot before the turn and added three birdies with one bogey on the back nine. Ikeda, who also teed off on the 10th, had seven birdies and two bogeys.
Hiroyuki Fujita, who trails in second in the JGTO money rankings behind South Korean Kim Kyun Tae, was in a logjam of eight golfers who shot 68.
Kim, who won last week’s Japan Open, carded a 70 and was in a tie for 27th along with Shunsuke Sonoda. Ryo Ishikawa struggled to a one-over 73.