The Kosaido Ladies Golf Cup presents a golden opportunity for some of the JLPGA's top stars to move up the Mostly Harmless Best Off the LPGA rankings, as #1 Sakura Yokomine, #4 Miki Saiki, #6 Bo-Bae Song, #7 Ji-Hee Lee, #8 Yukari Baba, #9 Ayako Uehara, #14 Shiho Oyama, #16 Eun-A Lim, #18 Yuko Mitsuka, and #19 Hiromi Mogi are sitting this one out. But #2 Miho Koga and #3 Akiko Fukushima are not taking advantage mid-way through their opening rounds: Koga is stalled at E and Fukushima at -1 through their first 12 holes. And #11 Yuri Fudoh is worse: +1 through 13. By contrast, #17 Akane Iijima is -7 through 12 and #20 Erina Hara is -6 through 14. Nahoko Hirao has already posted a 67. More later when the first round is complete.
[Update (7:52 am): Wow! Iijima kept it going. She matched her front-side 31 on the back--that's 10 birdies and 8 pars for a smashing 62! Hara, by contrast, stumbled with a double bogey on the 16th for a 68. That's how quickly a 1-shot gap becomes 6. But 2 players did join Hirao at 67: Esther Lee, who started birdie-birdie-eagle on the back and ended it with a 31, and Mayumi Nakajima, who went 33-34.
Here are the top 10 and notables:
1st/-10 Iijima (62)
T2/-5 Lee, Hirao, Nakajima (67)
T5/-4 Hara, Maiko Wakabayashi, Chiharu Yamaguchi (68)
8th/-3 Hyun-Ju Shin (69)
T9/-2 9 with 70s, including Akiko Fukushima, Hiroko Yamaguchi, and Ritsuko Ryu
T18/-1 Shinobu Moromizato, Mie Nakata (71)
T25/E Miho Koga, Na Zhang, Midori Yoneyama, Michiko Hattori (72)
T36/+1 Yuri Fudoh, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Yui Kawahara (73)]