SEOUL - Satoko Miyahara of Japan took a lead in the ladies' singles at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships with a bouncy short programme on Friday.
The diminutive 16-year-old scored 64.84 points, with Gracie Gold of the United States in second on 62.67 points. Rika Hongo, also from Japan, finished third with 61.28 points.
The free skate is scheduled for Sunday.
A perfect triple lutz-triple toeloop at the start set the tone for Miyahara, the reigning Japanese champion and the runner-up at last year's Four Continents.
I am very happy to be in the first place, but (the) free skating is still coming," she said. "I'd like to be prepared for that.
"I wasn't thinking about being the national champion when I was skating the short programme," she added. "I was just thinking about doing my best." Gold earned higher points for her overall artistry than Miyahara, but was undone by a pair of glaring mistakes.
She landed near the board on the second jump of her triple lutz-triple toeloop combination, and singled her intended double axel later on.
"I get very close to the board because I have a lot of speed (when entering the jumps)," Gold said. "I didn't under-rotate it. I tried to save it the best I could."
As for her botched double axel, Gold said: "Even the great ones mess up sometimes. I just have to do better in the free programme." Earlier on Friday, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada took the ice dance crown with 177.46 points, rallying with a strong free dance.
This was the Canadians' second Four Continents title and first since 2010, the last time the competition was held in South Korea.
Weaver and Poje were in third place after Thursday's short dance but topped the competition with 109.15 points in the free dance.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States settled for second with 176.18 points. They led after the short dance but were more than three points behind the Canadians in the free dance.
American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani took third place with 170.79 points.
Weaver said she and her partner were used to coming up from behind.
"That's a position that we've been in for seemingly our whole career, so it was nothing new to feel like we had to fight for this free dance," she said.
"There is a little bit of extra gusto in there, because the desire to move up helped us to perform today."