Friday, October 31, 2008

Hisako Higuchi IDC Otsuka Ladies Friday: Anything Goes

The big names are all over the place in the 1st round of the Hisako Higuchi IDC Otsuka Ladies JLPGA event this week. Consider the threesome of Mi-Jeong Jeon, Erina Hara, and Yuko Mitsuka, who have just completed the 15th hole. Mitsuka has made 5 birdies and 3 bogeys, Hara birdied the 2nd and has parred every other hole, while Jeon followed up a birdie on the third with a double bogey and 2 bogeys in the next 6 holes. That kind of volatility is showing up even within the same player's round. Keiko Sasaki made 6 birdies and had a bogey-free round, but only because she triple bogeyed the par-4 10th hole; still, she's the leader in the clubhouse at 69. Sakura Yokomine opened with a birdie, but followed up a quadruple bogey on the par-4 5th hole with a bogey on the 6th before rattling off 4 birdies between the 8th and 12th to claw her way back to E through 14. The upshot is that scoring conditions are challenging and anything can happen out on the course today. More soon!

[Update 1 (12:54 am): With her birdie on the par-3 15th, Yokomine is back below par for the 1st time since she was standing on the 5th tee. She joins a large group of players at T9 for now, even with Yui Kawahara and 1 behind Yayoi Arasaki, both of whom notched eagles on the back 9. There are a lot of big names showing similar fight on the back and making their way back from the depths. More on them next.]

[Update 2 (1:01 am): Maiko Wakabayashi came back from a double bogey on the par-4 6th to post a 72. Miho Koga is back to E after birdies on the 14th and 17th. Hiromi Mogi has done with same, thanks to birdies on the 11th and 16th, which matches Tamie Durdin's comeback from from double bogey and bogey at the turn. Ayako Uehara's birdie on the 14th has her E now with 2 holes to go.]

[Update 3 (1:14 am): Make that 3 birdies in her last 5 holes for Miho Koga--that's one gritty 71! Yuko Mitsuka and Erina Hara birdied the 18th, as well, the former to join Sasaki as co-leaders in the clubhouse, and the latter to secure a bogey-free 70. Playing partner Mi-Jeong Jeon, meanwhile, birdied the last 2 holes to salvage a 73 (T33 for now). And Mayu Hattori also birdied the 18th for her 70.]

[Update 4 (1:51 am): OK, the 1st round is complete in Japan and here are the top 10 and notables:

T1/-3 Mitsuka, Sasaki (69)
T3/-2 Hara, Hattori, Arasaki, Orie Fujino, Itsumi Okada, Yun-Joo Jeong (70)
T9/-1 Yokomine, Koga, Shinobu Moromizato, Yun-Jye Wei, Rui Kitada, Kawahara, Kurumi Dohi, Michie Ohba, Ji-Yeon Han, Na-Ri Lee, Nana Akahori (71)

T20/E Uehara, Mogi, Arimura, Nakata, Wakabayashi, Ji-Woo Lee, Durdin, Yuki Ichinose (72)
T36/+1 Jeon, Esther Lee, Nikki Campbell (73)
T46/+2 Hiroko Yamaguchi, Saiki Fujita (74)

T70/+4 Yukari Baba, Midori Yoneyama (76)
T82/+5 Akane Iijima (77)
T87/+6 Ritsuko Ryu (78)

With some huge names sitting this one out--from visiting LPGA stars Ai Miyazato and Momoko Ueda to future Class of '09ers Shiho Oyama and Miki Saiki, from money-list leaders Ji-Hee Lee and Akiko Fukushima to multiple winners Yuri Fudoh and Hyun-Ju Shin--the time is now for Mitsuka, Hara, Yokomine, Koga, Moromizato, Uehara, and Jeon to step up over the weekend. Who will do it? Stay tuned!]

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