Sunday, September 14, 2008

Konica Minolta Cup Sunday: Hyun-Ju Shin Holds On

With Typhoon Sinlaku affecting most of the east Asian coastline and islands, playing conditions must have been incredibly difficult in the final round of the Konica Minolta Cup, but--incredibly--they finished all 72 holes in the JLPGA's 2nd major of the year. And the winner is...Hyun-Ju Shin. It's her 2nd win of the season, 4th of her career, and her 1st major.

She made it interesting for everyone, however, with bogeys on 3rd and 4th holes to fall back to -8 and a tie with Ji-Yai Shin, who had begun the day with birdies on the 1st and 2nd. But then the Women's British Open champion started making bogeys of her own--on the 6th, 8th, and 9th--to fall 3 back. With Sakura Yokomine bogeying the 3rd and doubling the par-5 9th to drop all the way back to -2, the tournament was Shin's to lose. On the back, however, Ji-Yai Shin made par after par to remain at -5 and Yokomine made back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th to get back to -4. Meanwhile, Hyun-Ju Shin made bogeys of her own on the 10th...and 13th...and 15th to fall back to -5. The threesome stayed this way until the 18th, when Ji-Yai Shin blinked first, bogeying the tough par 4, while Hyun-Ju Shin matched Yokomine's par.

The Saturday Kyodo News story reports that Ji-Yai Shin finds this course tugheer than the U.S. Women's Open and that she plans to play on the LPGA regularly, but I haven't found a Sunday game story just yet. I'll post that when I do.

In the meantime, here are the top 10 and notables:

1st/-5 Hyun-Ju Shin (67-71-68-77)
T2/-4 Sakura Yokomine (73-71-67-73), Ji-Yai Shin (72-70-68-74)
T4/+1 Esther Lee (70-71-76-71), Momoko Ueda (68-78-69-74)
6th/+2 Maiko Wakabayashi (73-75-72-70)
T7/+3 Miho Koga (73-75-72-71), Mi-Jeong Jeon (74-75-70-72), Ai Miyazato (74-73-71-73), Midori Yoneyama (72-74-72-73), Ji-Woo Lee (73-72-71-75)

T12/+4 Kaori Higo (74-76-71-71), Mayu Hattori (75-73-70-74)
T15/+5 Ayako Uehara (77-70-73-73), Akane Iijima (75-72-72-74), Erina Hara (69-73-75-76)
19th/+7 Nikki Campbell (73-72-76-74)
T20/+8 Rui Kitada (73-73-78-72), Hiromi Mogi (71-75-77-73), Hiroko Yamaguchi (70-74-76-76), Yuko Mitsuka (72-73-71-80)
T25/+9 Tamie Durdin (73-73-75-76),
T30/+10 Yun-Jye Wei (74-77-76-71)
T34/+11 Yuri Fudoh (76-75-76-72), Bo-Bae Song (77-72-77-73), Akiko Fukushima (78-74-73-74), Chie Arimura (72-76-74-77)
T56/+16 Ritsuko Ryu (78-71-75-80)

A few notable details about other rounds than the final threesome's: Mitsuka eagled the 1st to get to -2 for the tournament, but took an 11 on the par-4 8th hole; Arimura also made an eagle on the way to her 77; Jeon made 4 birdies in a row on the back but sandwiched them between an earlier double and bogey and a final-hole bogey; Lee and Ueda made a late bogey and a late double, respectively, to fall back over par; Wakabayashi and Yuko Saitoh's 70s were the low rounds of the day.

With the money list leader mired in the middle of the pack, the race for the top spot is tightening:

1. Akiko Fukushima ¥82.05M
2. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥71.94M
3. Miho Koga ¥70.96M
4. Ji-Hee Lee ¥69.16M
5. Sakura Yokomine ¥64.78M
6. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥64.20M
7. Erina Hara ¥56.10M
8. Ayako Uehara ¥50.80M
9. Yuko Mitsuka ¥49.72M
10. Eun-A Lim ¥46.18M
11. Shinobu Moromizato ¥42.04M
12. Bo-Bae Song ¥41.97M
13. Shiho Oyama ¥41.85M
14. Chie Arimura ¥40.00M
15. Hiromi Mogi ¥39.41M
16. Yukari Baba ¥39.28M
17. Akane Iijima ¥39.27M
18. Yuri Fudoh ¥39.23M
19. Hiroko Yamaguchi ¥35.47M
20. Miki Saiki ¥34.14M
21. Ji-Woo Lee ¥33.71M
22. Esther Lee ¥29.77M
23. Rui Kitada ¥29.33M
24. Midori Yoneyama ¥29.10M
25. Saiki Fujita ¥26.14M
26. Momoko Ueda ¥24.67M
27. Ji-Yai Shin ¥24.18M
28. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥23.16M
29. Mayu Hattori ¥21.85M
30. Mie Nakata ¥19.29M

Check out the bunching between #2 and #4 and between #11 and #18. Wonder how long Ai-chan (debuting at #94) and Momo-chan will decide to stay in Japan?

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