Published January 13, 2015
Mie, Japan (SportsNetwork.com) - Shiho Oyama shot 4-under 68 for the second day in a row Saturday and remained atop the leaderboard after two rounds of the Mizuno Classic.
Oyama, a 12-time winner on the Japan LPGA, was joined at 8-under-par 136 by Mamiko Higa and Yuki Ichinose, who both shot 6-under 66 in round two. All three are searching for their first LPGA Tour victory.
"I came this far so I'm definitely going for it tomorrow," said Oyama. "My caddie this week caddied for Bo-Mee Lee and she won last week, so I think the luck is on my side. Hope to make the best out of tomorrow with my partner."
Brittany Lincicome posted a 4-under 68, while Asako Fujimoto carded a 5-under 67. They are tied for fourth at minus-7.
Teresa Lu (68), Chella Choi (69), Junko Omote (69) and Eun-Bi Jang (69) share sixth place at 6-under-par 138 at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club.
Defending champion Stacy Lewis carded a 4-under 68 to move into a tie for 10th at minus-5. She stands alongside Miki Saiki (66), Julieta Granada (68), Yumiko Yoshida (65) and Ah-Reum Hwang (68).
Oyama, who led by one after the first round, got off to a slow start. She birdied the third, but mixed that with seven pars over her first eight holes.
She dropped in back-to-back birdie chances at nine and 10. After a pair of pars, Oyama moved to the top of the leaderboard with birdies at 13 and 14. She stumbled to a bogey on the 15th to drop back to minus-8. Oyama parred the last three to end there.
Higa, who is making the fourth LPGA Tour start of her season and career, got off to a similarly slow start. She birdied the second and seventh to go with seven pars on the front nine.
Around the turn, Higa moved to 5-under with a birdie on the par-3 11th. After a pair of pars, she poured in three straight birdie chances from the 14th to soar into a share of the lead at minus-8. Higa parred the final two holes to remain tied atop the leaderboard.
Ichinose, who is making her first LPGA Tour appearance since last year's Mizuno Classic, converted birdie efforts at three and four to get to minus-4.
Ichinose later drained four consecutive birdies from the seventh to soar into a tie for the lead. Like Oyama, Ichinose got to 9-under with a birdie on the 14th, but she bogeyed the par-3 17th to slip back into a share of the lead.
"My putting felt really comfortable before the round and that gave me the confidence to play strong today," Ichinose said. "I really enjoyed today's round with Mamiko Higa, if she makes birdie then I make birdie, it was just like that all day."
NOTES: All three leaders are members of the Japan LPGA, which has 35 players in the field this week with the remaining 43 players coming from the LPGA Tour ... Jiyai Shin, the 2008 and 2010 champion, managed an even-par 72 and dipped into a share of 22nd at minus-3 ... Oyama is making her first LPGA Tour start since the 2011 season ... Haeji Kang withdrew prior to the start of the second round.