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Japanese golfers keep lead


Japan kept its bid for a record-tying 10th championship alive as Minato Oshima and Yuta Sugiura combined for a 139 to hold off a history-chasing Singapore side yesterday in the third round of the 29th Nomura Cup at the Masters course of the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club in Carmona, Cavite.

Japan’s top two players made a total of five birdies on their last four holes in a brilliant effort that doused cold water on the Singaporean charge with Oshima birdying twice for a two-under-par 69 and Sugiura making three for a 70 to preserve a precarious three-stroke lead for their at 413 with 18 holes remaining.

Japan’s mission to join Australia as the winningest team in the event also known as Asia-Pacific Amateur Team Championship will be challenged by Singapore whose hopes for a breakthrough victory got a big lift from pro-bound James Leow with his second six-under 66 effort in three days and Ryan John Ang’s 69 for a day-best 135 total.

Korea and New Zealand also stayed in the mix at 418 and 419, respectively, to occupy third and fourth places while defending champion Thailand (136) moved to a share of sixth with Australia (142) at 427.

Jang Yubin scored a 68 and Dong Hyun Moon had a 73 for Korea’s 141 while New Zealand banked on Sam Jacob Jones’ 68 and the 74 of Jimmy William Hydes for a 142.

The Philippines remained mired in ninth place despite a 70 by rookie internationalist Coby Rolida.

Kristoffer Arevalo squandered a three-under stint in the front nine with a wobbly finish and settled for a 73 and complete a 143 and 435.

Elee Bisera had his worst score in three days of 77 and did not count for the second straight day.

Arevalo appeared ready to end his heartaches at his home course when he made birdies on the fourth, fifth and eighth.

He, however, made a double-bogey on the 10th and 13th and after a birdie recovery on the 14th, bogeyed the 18th.

Seizing a two-stroke lead in individual play, the 25-year-old Leow said he felt so “at home” with the greens of the Masters and has so far averaged six birdies per round.

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