M. Miyazato races ahead at Japan Women’s Open

M. Miyazato races ahead at Japan Women’s Open

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M. Miyazato races ahead at Japan Women’s Open

IBARAKI, Japan – Mika Miyazato produced a birdie barrage to streak clear of the field Friday at the half-way point of the 43rd Japan Women’s Open Championship.

Miyazato snared seven birdies, including five in a row, en route to a 5-under 67 over the Ohtone County Club’s East Course in what’s considered the third “major” of the year on the Japan LPGA Tour.

Following her opening 68, Miyazato stands at 9-under 135 and has a commanding five-stroke lead over compatriot Chie Arimura.

Ayako Uehara, the joint first-round leader with Miyazato, could only manage a 73 as she dropped into a share of third place at 141 with Korean Na Yeon Choi.

World No. 1 Ai Miyazato, winner of the event in 2006 and third last year, fired a 70 to move into a tie for fifth at 142. She’s joined by countrywoman Miki Saiki and Korean Park Hee-young, whose bogey-free 66 so far is the tournament’s low round.

Yani Tseng of Taiwan, ranked fourth in the world, slumped to a 76 Friday and finds herself in joint 22nd place at 147.

Meanwhile, defending champion Song Bo-bae of Korea suffered the ignominy of missing the cut. She carded a 79 for a two-day total of 10-over 154.

Pace-setting Miyazato set the tone for her day with a birdie at the first and went to 2-under when she picked up a shot at the fifth before stumbling with bogeys at Nos. 9-10.

But she steadied herself with a par at the 11th and then cut loose with birdies on the next five holes. She finished the round with two pars.

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