Rui Kitada has taken a two stroke lead over new prospect Erina Hara in the Yonex Ladies Open in Niigata. In a 4-under 68, Kitada carded five birdies and a bogey to get to 6-under overall – this in an effort to work her way back to the form she showed more than 2 years ago. Kitada has won 4 times on the Japan LPGA tour, but has only won once in the past 2+ years – winning the Ladies Itoen Open last November.
Erina Hara, is a fresh-faced 20-year-old who captured her first career title at the NEC Karuizawa 72 Golf Tournament two weeks ago. Hara started her round slowly, with bogeys on the second and fourth holes – however she quickly recovered, converting five birdies in the last 10 holes for a 69.
Kitada started the day two shots behind overnight co-leaders Yasuko Sato and Ko Woo Soon of South Korea, but her day’s excellent play saw her hitting the front.