Sunday, July 20, 2008

Stanley Ladies Sunday: Fukushima Does It!

Akiko Fukushima mounted a classic Sunday charge to take control of the Stanley Ladies, making 5 birdies in her 1st 11 holes to take a 1-shot lead on 2nd-round leader Ayako Uehara and a 2-shot lead on Ji-Hee Lee, then holding on for the win, as each played the last 7 holes in 1-under. With her victory, Fukushima follows career money list leader Yuri Fudoh in becoming the 2nd repeat winner on the JLPGA in 2008 and significantly extends her lead in season winnings on Lee.

Here are the final results for the top 10 and notables:

1st/-13 Fukushima (69-67-67)
2nd/-12 Uehara (67-67-70)
T3/-11 Mikiyo Nishizuka (68-71-66), Lee (66-70-69)
T5/-10 Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-67-67), Shinobu Moromizato (73-65-68)
7th/-9 Erina Hara (71-67-69)
T8/-8 Yuri Fudoh (70-70-68), Chie Arimura (70-70-68)
T10/-7 Yukari Baba (71-72-66), Mai Arai (72-70-67), Ji-Woo Lee (69-69-71)

T19/-4 Midori Yoneyama (73-70-69), Hiromi Mogi (72-70-70), Akane Iijima (71-70-71), Esther Lee (73-68-71), Eun-A Lim (69-71-72), Yuki Ichinose (68-72-72)
T27/-3 Mayu Hattori (70-70-73)
T32/-2 Na Zhang (71-69-74), Michiko Hattori (71-69-74)
T39/-1 Shiho Oyama (70-73-72), Hiroko Yamaguchi (67-74-74)

And here's how the money list now looks:

1. Akiko Fukushima ¥72.41M
2. Ji-Hee Lee ¥57.56M
3. Sakura Yokomine ¥45.92M
4. Miho Koga ¥45.04M
5. Ayako Uehara ¥41.23M
6. Eun-A Lim ¥41.17M
7. Bo-Bae Song ¥38.52M
8. Yukari Baba ¥37.34M
9. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥37.25M
10. Chie Arimura ¥37.17M
11. Yuri Fudoh ¥36.37M
12. Miki Saiki ¥33.12M
13. Hiromi Mogi ¥32.91M
14. Yuko Mitsuka ¥31.52M
15. Shiho Oyama ¥30.92M
16. Hiroko Yamaguchi ¥30.85M
17. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥29.70M
18. Erina Hara ¥27.37M
19. Akane Iijima ¥26.30M
20. Shinobu Moromizato ¥23.69M

There's a lot at stake in the JLPGA Players Championship next week. Sakura Yokomine needs a good finish in this 130 million yen event to keep pace with Akiko Fukushima and Ji-Hee Lee. For her to get her 1st win of the season there would be quite a coup. Shiho Oyama is another player for whom a great finish there would be a big deal. Heading into the season, I expected her to be contending for #1 on the JLPGA in Momoko Ueda's absence, but instead she's struggled. The Players Championship also presents a chance for redemption for Miho Koga, Miki Saiki, and Bo-Bae Song, who started the season well but have struggled since. But the hottest golfers coming into it seem to be Fukushima, Lee, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Ayako Uehara, and Chie Arimura. We'll see if the big names stepping up theme continues or if lesser-known JLPGA players can make their mark next week.

[Update 1 (7/21/08, 3:53 am): My bad! Bo-Bae Song is playing in the Evian Masters next week.]

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