I can just picture Ji-Yai Shin, Eun-A Lim, and Kumiko Kaneda thinking to themselves last night after the 1st round of the Golf 5 Ladies, "What's so great about a 66?" The amateur Kaneda was the 1st to answer the question, making 6 straight birdies as she made the turn from the back to the front to post a bogey-free 65 and move to -5 for the tournament. Meanwhile, Lim opened with a 33 and only then caught fire, making birdies on 5 of her final 9 holes for a 64 that vaulted her all the way to -9. Shin, too, got hot on the back following an opening 33: she went eagle-birdie to start it and got another pair on the par-4 14th and par-5 16th to take the lead at -10 with 2 holes left to play.
Saiki Fujita has gone on a run of her own on the back to get to -6 on the day and -8 for the tournament with the 18th left to play. Erina Hara, meanwhile, has let birdie opportunities on the 10th and 11th slip by and sits at -7 after a 35 on the front. Kuniko Maeda continues to keep pace with her and Midori Yoneyama has pulled within a shot of her.
There's also a lot of action near the cut line. Money-list leader Akiko Fukushima could only manage an even-par 72 today to remain at +1 for the tournament; she sits precariously in a tie for 47th right now.
More when the 2nd round is complete.
[Update 1 (4:45 am): Here are the key 2nd-round results:
1st/-10 Ji-Yai Shin (70-64)
2nd/-9 Eun-A Lim (71-64)
T3/-8 Saiki Fujita (70-66), Erina Hara (66-70)
5th/-7 Midori Yoneyama (69-68)
6th/-6 Kuniko Maeda (66-72)
T7/-5 Kumiko Kaneda (74-65), Nachiyo Ohtani (72-67), So-Hee Kim (71-68), Mayu Hattori (69-70), Hiromi Mogi (68-71)
T12/-4 Hyun-Ju Shin (73-67), Yukari Baba (72-68), Rui Kitada (72-68), Miho Koga (71-69), Shinobu Moromizato (70-70), Bo-Bae Song (70-70), Ji-Woo Lee (69-71)
T25/-2 Ji-Hee Lee (74-68), Yun-Jye Wei (73-69), Shiho Oyama (70-72)
T34/-1 Nikki Campbell (75-68), Mi-Jeong Jeon (73-70), Na Zhang (70-73), Akane Iijima (69-74)
T42/E Maiko Wakabayashi (71-73)
T45/+1 Akiko Fukushima (73-72)
A 38 on the back almost did Fukushima in--that's 7 lost strokes to Shin, Lim, and Fujita in 9 holes, barely better than Iijima's disastrous 40.
T56/+2 Esther Lee (76-70), Kaori Higo (74-72)
T64/+3 Ritsuko Ryu (72-75), Michiko Hattori (72-75)
T73/+4 Tamie Durdin (74-74)
T98/+10 Yuki Ichinose (78-76)
Once again, young guns and vets struggle. There's always next week!
But tomorrow is what interests me. If the 2nd-round leaders find it as hard to follow up on their low scores as the 1st-round leaders did, watch out for Yoneyama: she's the only player in the field with a chance to put together a trio of sub-70 scores. But actually I expect Shin and Hara to be duelling it out down the stretch. Can the JLPGA's hottest player succeed where Yuri Fudoh and Ai Miyazato failed?]