MIYAZAKI, Japan (AP) — Tomohiro Kondo fired a 2-under 69 Friday to grab a one-stroke lead at the Dunlop Phoenix.
Kondo bogeyed the par-4 second hole before recovering with birdies on Nos. 7, 8 and 11 for a 36-hole total of 5-under 137 at the par-71 Phoenix Country Club.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was a stroke back at 4-under 138 along with Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Japan’s Michio Matsumura, who all shot a 70 in the second round.
Defending champion Ian Poulter of Britain finished with a 73 and is tied for 44th place at 4-over.
Japan’s Taichi Teshima posted the day’s low round of 66 to move into a tie for sixth at 3-under, along with teen star Ryo Ishikawa (67), Shigeki Maruyama (68) and American Brandt Snedeker (71).
Overnight leader Paul Sheehan of Australia only managed a 73 and now trails Kondo by three strokes.
Ernie Els, the 1993 winner, fell to a share of 38th place at 3-over after a 73.
The $2.1 million event is one of the richer tournament’s on the Japanese men’s tour. Recent winners include Tiger Woods (2004, 2005) and Padraig Harrington (2006).