Friday, August 15, 2008

NEC Karuizawa 72 Friday: Bring Your 'A' Game This Week

With the entire JLPGA top 25 except Yuri Fudoh and Yun-Jye Wei playing in the NEC Karuizawa 72 Golf Tournament, you'd expect scoring to be low and the leaders to be bunched, wouldn't you? Well, you ought to have. With 4 birdies and no bogeys through her 1st 15 holes, 20-year-old Erina Hara is riding a wave of recent top 10s and looking for her 1st career win. But Mostly Harmless #1 Mi-Jeong Jeon fired a 33 on the front and has continued her own bogey-free streak to join her at -4 with 3 holes to go. Right behind this pair are Bo-Bae Song (who has already posted a 69), Miho Koga (who has birdied 3 holes on the back to offset her double bogey on the par-3 12th), Akane Iijima and Chie Arimura (both of whom have 2 birdies on the back to go along with their 2 on the front). And only 2 back are Japan's Akiko Fukushima, along with Korea's Ji-Hee Lee, Hyun-Ju Shin, Eun-A Lim, and Ji-Woo Lee. More later when play is complete.

[Update 1 (2:38 am): Here are the top 10 and notables after the end of the 1st round:

T1/-5 Koga, Hara, Yumiko Yoshida, Hiroko Fukusima (67)
T5/-4 Jeon, Lim, Rui Kitada (68)
T8/-3 Fukushima, Ji-Hee Lee, Song, Iijima, Shin, So-Hee Kim, Kasumi Fujii, Eriko Moriyama, Makoto Takemura (69)

T17/-2 Arimura, Ji-Woo Lee (70)
T23/-1 Yuko Mitsuka, Mayu Hattori, Nikki Campbell (71)
T36/E Sakura Yokomine, Ayako Uehara, Na Zhang, Hiromi Mogi, Kaori Higo (72)
T53/+1 Miki Saiki, Mie Nakata, Maiko Wakabayashi, Ritsuko Ryu, Michiko Hattori (73)
T69/+2 Shiho Oyama, Shinobu Moromizato, Yukari Baba, Midori Yoneyama, Yuki Ichinose (74)
T84/+3 Hiroko Yamaguchi, Esther Lee (75)

So Koga, Jeon, and Fukushima definitely brought their 'A' game today among the JLPGA's Big 8, Ji-Hee Lee and Song among the next 5, and most of the rest of the top 20. It'll be interesting to see who keep up this pace and who among those who struggled today pick up their pace tomorrow.]

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