CHONAN, Chiba Pref. – Miki Saiki shot a 5-under 67 to establish a one-shot lead over Sakura Yokomine after the first round of the Itoen Ladies on Friday.
Looking to build on her fourth-place finish at last week’s Mizuno Classic, Saiki overcame a shaky start to knock in nine birdies against four bogeys at Great Island Club.
The Japan Women’s Open runnerup is looking for her first victory since capturing her maiden title at the 2007 Fujisankei Ladies Classic.
Yokomine, second on the JLPGA money list, had a 68 that included six birdies and two bogeys, while South Korean trio Park In Bee, Kim Na Ri and Lee Na Ri all had 70s.
Ahn Sun Ju, the current money rankings leader, shot a 71 and was tied for sixth.
Momoko Ueda and JLPGA heavyweight Yuri Fudo both went round in 73 and were tied for 22nd.
Miyamoto, Imada tied
GOTEMBA , Shizuoka Pref. (Kyodo) Katsumasa Miyamoto capped a rollercoaster round of 2-under-par 70 with an eagle to move into a share of the lead alongside Ryuji Imada at the midway point of the Taiheiyo Masters on Friday.
Seeking his second title of the season after winning the Japan Golf Tour Championship in June, Miyamoto mixed seven birdies with a double bogey and five bogeys before nailing the eagle on the 18th to tie Imada at 6-under 138.
Imada, who shared third with Miyamoto and four others after the first round, had four birdies and a pair of bogeys in a 70 at Taiheiyo Club Gotemba Course.
Takuya Taniguchi was alone in third place at 5 under after carding a 71, while Yoshikazu Haku (71) and first-round leader Taichi Teshima, who struggled to a 76, followed another shot back in a tie for fourth.
Teenage phenom Ryo Ishikawa, currently second behind South Korea’s Kim Kyung Tae on the JGTO money list, matched par to sit in a five-way tie for eighth, four shots off the pace.
Defending champion Yasuharu Imano has withdrawn from the 150 million yen event in Shizuoka Prefecture because of a hip injury.
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