Saturday, June 14, 2008

Suntory Ladies Open Saturday: And Then There Were Eight

After the second round of the Suntory Ladies Open, there were 26 players within 5 shots of the leader, Shiho Oyama, who stood at -6. But after Oyama's 3rd straight 69, she has opened up a 2-shot lead on Momoko Ueda, 4 on Sakura Yokomine and Eun-A Lim, and 5 on 4 other players.

But it certainly wasn't easy. Oyama had to recover from a triple-bogey on the 9th hole that helped erase her 4 birdies on the front and brought her 1 shot back of Ueda. Unfazed, she went on to make 4 birdies on the back, while Ueda could only manage a single birdie, a recovery after a bogey on the previous hole. Oyama's lead would be 3 except for a bogey of her own on the 18th hole. Still, only 1 player in the field could match her 33 on the back side, but Hiromi Mogi, who used it to fire the low round of the day, a 67, had barely made the cut and only moved up to T17 (-1). Woo-Soon Ko, the only other golfer in the field to shoot a lower score than Oyama on Saturday, a 68, only moved up to 12th place (-2).

Most of the leaders, by contrast, were stuck in neutral on moving day. Sakura Yokomine, Bo-Bae Song, Erina Hara, and Mie Nakata all shot roller-coaster rounds of 72. Eun-A Lim's 71 included a double bogey in the mix. Chie Arimura's 70 ended with an eagle on the 18th. So unless Oyama stalls on Sunday there are very few players in a position to chase her down--it's looking like the eventual winner will be double digits under par, and very few players have a realistic shot at getting there.

1st/-9 Oyama (69-69-69)
2nd/-7 Ueda (70-69-70)
T3/-5 Lim (68-72-71), Yokomine (66-73-72)
T5/-4 Yuka Shiroto (70-72-70), Nakata (75-65-72), Song (69-71-72), Hara (69-71-72)
T9/-3 Ji-Woo Lee (74-70-69), Arimura (70-73-70), Kaori Nakamichi (68-72-73)

T12/-2 Ji-Hee Lee (71-72-71), Kaori Higo (70-70-74)
T17/-1 Mogi (72-76-67), Hiroko Yamaguchi (73-72-70), Tamie Durdin (70-71-74)
T22/E Esther Lee (72-74-70), Akiko Fukushima (73-71-72), Yuko Mitsuka (72-70-74)
T30/+1 Mika Miyazato (70-74-73)
T34/+2 Ayako Uehara (73-74-71), Yun-Jye Wei (74-73-71)
T47/+4 Yuki Ichinose (72-69-79)
T51/+5 Mayu Hattori (79-67-75)
58th/+7 Pornanong Phatlum (73-73-77)

This may come down to a showdown between Oyama, Ueda, and Yokomine, after all. Lim and Song are going to have to do something truly special to become the first repeat winner on the JLPGA in 2008!

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