Knutzon takes early lead in Japan

NODA, Japan (AP) Jason Knutzon of the United States fired a 7-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Panasonic Open on Thursday.

Knutzon offset a lone bogey on the par-4 17th with seven birdies at the Chiba Country Club to finish two strokes ahead of Thailand's Udorn Duangdecha and Satoshi Kodaira of Japan.

Kim Hyung-sung of South Korea shot 67 and was tied for fourth with compatriot Hur In-hoi, Hiroshi Iwata of Japan and Thailand's Panuphol Pittayarat.

Defending champion Yuta Ikeda got off to a shaky start with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 2 and 3 and finished at 2-over 73.

The tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour Organization.

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