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Pagunsan stays afloat

Juvic Pagunsan bunched in four birdies early on and stayed in the mix with six-under par 65 in the 38th Shinhan Donghae Open at the Koma Country Club near Osaka, Japan, Thursday.

The 44-year-old Filipino, a Japan Golf Tour regular, collected seven birdies against a lone bogey to trail clubhouse leader Richard Lee of Canada by three shots.

Pagunsan, who started in the back nine, made four straight birdies from 13 and added three more in the next six holes only to falter with a bogey on 5. He finished the round with four pars.

He struggled off the tee, hitting only five of 14 fairways, but his iron play was on the dial, missing only four greens. He needed only 26 putts.

Lee knocked in nine birdies in a bogey-free round to stand alone at the summit, one shot ahead of Thai Nitithorn Thippong who was also flawless with eight birdies.

Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was alone in third place on 7-under after one eagle and six birdies against a bogey.

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