With all due respect to Laura Davies, who I'm sure will earn her way into the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame soon, with condolences to Ai Miyazato, Julieta Granada, and Kyeong Bae (finishing 5 shots behind the slumping Karrie Webb can't feel good), and with congratulations to Hye Jung Choi on her top 10 and Karin Sjodin on her top 20 (her final-round 66 put her a shot behind fellow Super Soph Brittany Lang), I must say that I am overjoyed that Momoko Ueda won the Mizuno Classic! And what a way to win. Making a double eagle on the 7th propelled her to a 31 on the front, keeping her ahead of Reilley Rankin and Maria Hjorth, who both fired off 32s (Hjorth started off by eagling the first). Then as all three cooled off on the back, Ueda held them off and prevented anyone else from even thinking about chasing her down.
Ueda's win is great for the JLPGA, most of whose top-ranked stars actually had a disappointing tournament. Not only does it give the Japanese players some bragging rights heading into December's showdown with the South Koreans in the Kyoraku Cup (although in the Seoul Sisters' defense it took a monsoon and high winds to ice Pettersen's 36-hole win in Korea two weeks ago), it also and more importantly raises the strong possibility that Ueda will join Ai-chan on the LPGA in 2008. I'd cross my fingers, but fear doing so will activate the Mostly Harmless jinx.
With their disappointing but not disastrous finishes in Japan, Sophie Gustafson and Rachel Hetherington passed Annika Sorenstam in the race to qualify for the ADT Championship. It doesn't really matter whether new mom Catriona Matthew outearns Sorenstam by the $42K she needs in the Tournament of Champions next week to steal the final second-half qualifying spot from her, or earns her way in by being one of the top two people on the official money list not otherwise qualified for the tournament. Both are in either way. Looks like Meaghan Francella can breathe easy--the odds that Granada will win the TOC and pass her in earnings on the season are about as remote as...uh, her winning the ADT last year. Gulp--good thing Francella's also in the TOC field. [Update 12:15 pm: Thanks to eagle-eyed Bill from The Floria Masochist, I just figured out that Rankin's finish vaulted her ahead of Sorenstam, Gustafson, and Hetherington on the second-half points list. So there's a good chance Sorenstam will knock out Gustafson or Hetherington at the TOC, and Francella and Matthew will get in on the year-long money list. I think. Update 11/5/07, 11:34 am: OK, the new stats are out at LPGA.com, and it looks like Hetherington's going to be the odd woman out after the TOC. Although Joo Mi Kim and/or Granada could still pass Gustafson with a miracle like Rankin's. I think.] If Francella does badly in the TOC but still makes the ADT, she has In-Kyung Kim's disappointing weekend in Japan to thank--Kim was in contention after the first round, but faded to T24 and failed to put pressure on Francella to play catch-up on the money list next week. Speaking of rookies, Angela Park will need a great finish at the ADT to join the $1M club. If Ai-chan can't get her game in enough shape to win it, I want to see Park walk away with the victory.