Sunday, September 21, 2008

Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic Sunday: Ueda/Fudoh/Arasaki Showdown

The final 2 threesomes in the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic have opened the door and Momoko Ueda and Yuri Fudoh have charged right on through. Fudoh's made 5 birdies and no bogeys through 17 holes to get to -8 for the tournament, while Ueda has also played bogey-free golf and caught the leader with a birdie on the 13th. 2nd-round leader Yayoi Arasaki had gotten to -10 with birdies on the 2nd and 3rd holes, but a pair of bogeys and a costly double bogey on the par-4 10th dropped her out of the lead. She's stabilized the ship with a birdie on the par-5 12th to pull a shot ahead of a pair of golfers in the penultimate group, Shinobu Moromizato and Aki Takamura, as well as Bo-Bae Song, who's picked up where she left off yesterday with 4 birdies and only 1 bogey in 16 holes. But all Song's heroics of the past 2 days will be for naught if she can't join Fudoh as leader in the clubhouse.

At least she has a chance: Ji-Hee Lee (+1) and Namika Omata (+4), playing with Arasaki in the final pairing, have fallen off the pace; Lee, at least, still has a ghost of a chance, as anything can happen over 5 holes, but 4 shots is a lot to make up in that time. Amateur Asako Fujimoto is in the same boat, having bogeyed the par-4 13th minutes before Lee to also fall back to -4, tied with playing partner Yuko Saitoh.

Well, well, well, the scoreboard just updated! Fudoh didn't birdie the 18th and Song didn't catch her at -8, even though she did what the leader in the clubhouse couldn't. Ueda was the next golfer to have a chance to match or surpass Fudoh, and things were looking great for her after a birdie on the par-4 17th lifted her into the lead at -9. But a final-hole bogey dropped her back into a tie with the JLPGA's living legend. Joining them in a playoff will be Arasaki, who showed plenty of guts in fighting back to even-par on her final round after her birdie on the par-5 15th and parring in from there. If Ueda could have managed a birdie on either back-9 par 5, the tournament would have been hers, but Arasaki and Fudoh's birdies on both holes kept them in the game.

While I search for playoff results, here are the top 10 and notables:

T1/-8 Fudoh (71-70-67), Ueda (70-70-68), Arasaki (69-67-72)
4th/-7 Song (76-65-68)
T5/-5 Hiroko Yamaguchi (69-72-70), Saitoh (72-69-70), Aki Takamura (71-69-71), Fujimoto (71-69-71), Shinobu Moromizato (68-71-72)
T10/-4 Miho Koga (70-71-1), Ji-Hee Lee (69-70-73)

T12/-3 Akane Iijima (73-70-70)
T15/-2 Ayako Uehara (72-72-70)
T17/-1 Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-74-69), Tamie Durdin (74-70-71), Mie Nakata (72-72-71), Hiromi Mogi (76-67-72), Sakura Yokomine (68-74-73), Ji-Woo Lee (72-70-73), Yuki Sakurai (72-70-73), Yuko Mitsuka (71-70-74)
T28/E Erina Hara (71-73-72)
T30/+1 Midori Yoneyama (72-72-73)
T38/+3 Mayu Hattori (72-69-78)
T49/+6 Kaori Higo (74-72-76)

[Update 1 (4:54 am): I should have noted that Aki Takamura got it to -7 with 3 holes to play, but fell out of the picture with bogeys on the 16th and 18th. And I should have checked the official leaderboard, which reveals that Yuri Fudoh won the playoff for her JLPGA-leading 3rd win of the season!]

[Update 2 (5:07 am): So edit the above leaderboard to put Ueda and Arasaki at T2 and check out the new money list while I search for what just happened!

1. Akiko Fukushima ¥82.05M
2. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥72.67M
3. Miho Koga ¥72.54M
4. Ji-Hee Lee ¥70.74M
5. Sakura Yokomine ¥65.51M
6. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥64.20M
7. Erina Hara ¥56.69M
8. Ayako Uehara ¥51.88M
9. Yuri Fudoh ¥51.83M
10. Yuko Mitsuka ¥50.44M
11. Eun-A Lim ¥46.18M
12. Bo-Bae Song ¥46.17M
13. Shinobu Moromizato ¥44.75M
14. Shiho Oyama ¥41.85M
15. Akane Iijima ¥40.52M
16. Hiromi Mogi ¥40.14M
17. Chie Arimura ¥40.00M
18. Yukari Baba ¥39.28M
19. Hiroko Yamaguchi ¥38.18M
20. Ji-Woo Lee ¥34.44M
21. Miki Saiki ¥34.14M
22. Momoko Ueda ¥30.20M
23. Esther Lee ¥29.77M
24. Midori Yoneyama ¥29.65M
25. Rui Kitada ¥29.33M
26. Saiki Fujita ¥26.14M
27. Ji-Yai Shin ¥24.18M
28. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥23.16M
29. Mayu Hattori ¥22.28M
30. Yuko Saitoh ¥21.48M

Fudoh jumps from 18th to 9th, Iijima leapfrogs up a few spots, and Ueda is now breathing down Saiki's neck.]

[Update 3 (6:46 am): Kyodo News finally came through with the story. Some good details, including the fact that a thunderstorm delayed play and amateur Fujimoto is a high school student. But here's the key part:

Fudo came back from five shots behind with a final-round 67 and then holed a curling 25-footer in the playoff....

Fudo, the all-time earnings leader on the Japan LPGA tour, completed a flawless day after Ueda and Arasaki failed to convert birdie attempts of their own from shorter distances and said luck was on her side at the very end of a long day.

"I thought playoff chances were becoming slimmer and was preparing to go home when Ueda-san was moving up on the board," said Fudo, who had to endure a two-hour wait at the clubhouse and on the practice green before walking up to the tee for the playoff. "But I just tried to go out there and show everything I have once I got in the playoff."

Congratulations to Yuri Fudoh!]

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