Yuko Mitsuka has opened up a 3-shot lead on her nearest competitors at the Nichirei PGM Ladies event in Ibaraki prefecture; she continued her bogey-free run from Friday for another 13 holes and then bounced back from back-to-back bogeys with a late birdie to secure a 69, which brought her back to -9 for the tournament. If Mitsuka is doing her best Morgan Pressel impression this week, then Ji-Hee Lee is making like Suzann Pettersen with her big move to T2 at -6. She finished birdie-par-eagle for a tournament-low 65.
Here's how the leaderboard looks now:
1st/-9 Mitsuka (66-69)
T2/-6 Lee (73-65), Namika Omata (68-70)
T4/-5 Shiho Oyama (71-68), Ritsuko Ryu (67-72)
T6/-4 Ji-Woo Lee (72-68), Ah-Reum Hwang (71-69)
T8/-3 Eun-A Lim (73-68), Akane Iijima (72-69), Hyun-Ju Shin (69-72), Esther Lee (68-73)
Watch out for Oyama 4 shots back--she played bogeyless golf Saturday and is looking to make up for last Sunday's collapse tomorrow. But Ji-Hee Lee is looking to become the JLPGA's first repeat winner in 2008 and has momentum on her side. And Omata bounced back from a front-side double-bogey with 2 birdies and an eagle, so she's capable of going low. Unless all 4 of these players struggle Sunday, it'll be difficult for anyone further back to take the tournament away from them.
T12/-2 Bo-Bae Song (74-68), Erina Hara (73-69), Ayako Uehara (70-72)
T23/-1 Mi-Jeong Jeon (73-70), Hiromi Mogi (72-71), Mayu Hattori (72-71), Shinobu Moromizato (69-74)
T32/E Yukari Baba (72-72), Akiko Fukushima (71-73)
T37/+1 Chie Arimura (73-72), Hiroko Yamaguchi (70-75)
T50/+3 Yuki Ichinose (76-71)
I don't see anyone from this group getting into contention tomorrow; there are too many solid golfers between them and the lead 4.
T58/+4 Yun-Jye Wei (73-75)
T66/+5 Miki Saiki (74-75)
T71/+6 Maiko Wakabayashi (75-75), Michiko Hattori (73-77)
A real shocker that Saiki missed the cut--hope she's not hurt.
So heading into the final round, Mitsuka is looking for her 2nd career JLPGA win, Lee for her 2nd of the season, and Oyama and Omata for their 1st. Who will find what she's looking for?