Unlike on the LPGA, scoring was low in the 1st round of the Fujitsu Ladies event on the JLPGA. Akiko Fukushima lead the way with 5 birdies on each side for a blistering 63, followed by Yuko Mitsuka's bogey-free 66 and Sakura Yokomine's bogey-free 67. Even with money-list leader Ji-Hee Lee and #1-ranked Mi-Jeong Jeon playing in Korea in the KLPGA's Hite Cup (Lee shot a 72 and Jeon a 73 to trail Sun Ju Ahn's 67 and Ji-Yai Shin's 68), Hyun-Ju Shin almost definitely injured, and Ayako Uehara, Bo-Bae Song, and Yukari Baba taking the week off, this will not be a walk in the park for Fukushima. Erina Hara bogeyed the par-3 17th hole to shoot a 68, Yuri Fudoh and Miho Koga shot solid 69s, and LPGA-bound Shiho Oyama and Miki Saiki are lurking at -2, along with Shinobu Moromizato.
Here are the top 10 and notables:
1st/-9 Fukushima (63)
2nd/-6 Mitsuka (66)
T3/-5 Yokomine, Mikiyo Nishizuka (67)
T5/-4 Hara, Saiki Fujita, Junko Omote (68)
T8/-3 Fudoh, Koga, Akane Iijima, Hiroko Yamaguchi, Nikki Campbell, Asako Fujimoto, and 3 others (69)
Fujimoto, by the way, is coming off a T14 at the Women's World Amateur event that Sweden just won; she tied Mika Miyazato and helped lead Japan to a 5th-place finish behind Spain, the U.S., and Canada.
T17/-2 Oyama, Saiki, Moromizato, Kaori Higo, Mayu Hattori, Ritsuko Ryu, Tamie Durdin (70)
T28/-1 Eun-A Lim, Esther Lee (71)
T35/E Hiromi Mogi, Rui Yokomine (72)
T49/+1 Mie Nakata, Ji-Woo Lee, Yuki Ichinose (73)
Nice to see the LET's Yokomine playing respectably. Lots of JLPGA young guns in this strata will be looking to at least catch Fujimoto tomorrow.
T64/+2 Chie Arimura, Rui Kitada (74)
T76/+4 Maiko Wakabayashi, Yun-Jye Wei (76)
T82/+5 Midori Yoneyama (77)
Looks like a post-win letdown for Wakabayashi. We'll see how much fight is left in this group looking to make the cut...and how much ground Akiko Fukushima can make up on Ji-Hee Lee on the JLPGA money list this week!