Although many of the JLPGA's finest are playing in the Belluna Ladies Cup, once again it's players without a win yet in 2008 on the top of the leaderboard. Hiromi Mogi made 2 bogeys on the front but still shot a 33 and followed it up with a bogey-free 32 on the back. At -7, she leads a Lee by 1--but it's not the white-hot Esther Lee (who shot a 72, thanks to a double bogey on each side) or Ji-Hee Lee (69) or even Eun-Hye Lee (68)...it's Ji-Woo Lee, who's garnered top 10s in 2 of her last 3 events. Another stroke back is Mie Nakata, who missed the cut in her last event, breaking her consecutive top 10 streak at 2. Both players' only mistake was a bogey on the long par-4 7th hole. Will Mogi, Lee, or Nakata be the one to get her 1st win of the season this week--and continue the JLPGA's 16-event streak without a repeat winner?
It's far too soon, though, to call this a 3-player race, as the top 10 is packed and some big names are within 4 shots of the lead, including last week's winner Chie Arimura:
1st/-7 Mogi (65)
2nd/-6 Ji-Woo Lee (66)
3rd/-5 Nakata (67)
T4/-4 Eun-Hye Lee, Mihoko Iseri, Yayoi Arasaki, Mikiyo Nishizuka (68)
T8/-3 Arimura, Ji-Hee Lee, Miho Koga, Hiroko Yamaguchi, Mayumi Shimomura, Nozomi Satoh, Jeung-Eun Lee (69)
The only bogey-free round in the top 10 belonged to Satoh, which suggests there's a good chance the leaders could come back to the field over the weekend. That would be good news for Ji-Hee Lee, Koga, and Yamaguchi, the players with the best chance of getting their second win of the season this week.
Also in the hunt are the following notables:
T15/-2 Midori Yoneyama (70)
T23/-1 Sakura Yokomine, Akiko Fukushima, Kaori Higo (71)
T35/E Esther Lee, Tamie Durdin (72)
But the cut line may be low this week, as the following players are either on it or below it heading into Saturday:
T50/+1 Maiko Wakabayashi, Mayu Hattori (73)
T64/+2 Nikki Campbell (74)
T74/+3 Hyun-Ju Shin, Akane Iijima (75)
T81/+4 Erina Hara, Michiko Hattori (76)
T98/+7 Ritsuko Ryu (79)
Yuki Ichinose withdrew--hopefully there's no injury involved. With the #5 through #12 on the JLPGA money list sitting this one out, there's a great opportunity for everyone in it to make a big move this week. Who will make it?