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July 26, 1996

KITA-KANBARA, Japan (AP) _ Tsutomu Higa shot a 4-under-par 68 in the second round Friday and widened his lead to four strokes midway through the NST Niigata Open. Higa, who hasn’t won in seven years as a pro, has a 36-hole total of 131.

Gohei Sato tied the day’s best score of 7-under 65, and shared second place at 9-under 135 with Kaname Yokoo, Toshiaki Odate and Masayuki Kawamura. Yokoo had a 67, while Odate and Kawamura shot 69s.

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Ire Leads Tournament After Opening 67

MIZUNAMI, Japan (AP) _ Yuka Irie fashioned a 5-under-par 67 Friday and took a three-stroke lead in the opening round of the inaugural Golf 5 Ladies Tournament.

Five players were tied for second place, South Korean Don Lee Young-mee, Australian Jennifer Sevil, Taiwan’s Tseng Hsiu-feng and Japan’s Yoko Kobayashi and Junko Yoshida.

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O’Malley, Galvez, Rhodes Star in Japan

TOKYO (AP) _ Tom O’Malley drove in three runs to help the Yakult Swallows beat the Chunichi Dragons 9-5 Friday.

Balvino Galvez (11-3) pitched the Yomiuri Giants to a 4-3 win over the Hanshin Tigers. Galvez, who once pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, scattered 10 hits over eight innings before Mario Brito picked up his 15th save.

Tuffy Rhodes, who joined the Kintetsu Buffaloes after a brief try with the Boston Red Sox, hit two three-run homers in a 9-0 victory over the Nippon Ham Fighters.

The Chiba Lotte Marines drubbed the Seibu Lions 8-1 as Eric Hillman, formerly of the New York Mets, pitched a four-hitter over eight innings.

It was Hillman’s fourth straight victory and 11th this season.

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Fireworks Interrupt Mexican League Playoff

MONCLOVA, Mexico (AP) _ Fireworks in the fifth inning interrupted the Mexican Baseball League quarterfinal playoff game for 20 minutes. The spontaneous display was touched off when Hector Villanueva hit a home run to help the Monclova Steelers to a 5-3 victory over the Monterry Sultans on Thursday night, the home team’s first victory in the series.

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