Friday, October 3, 2008

Japan Women's Open Friday: Grinding, Grinding, Grinding

Speaking of difficult playing conditions, the Japan Women's Open's 2nd round is under way and the scores remain high. Ai Miyazato bounced back from her disastrous final 7 holes yesterday to shoot a 71 today and move into a tie for 5th for now with money-list leader Akiko Fukushima at +1. But the way the scoring trends are going, they could be much higher on the leaderboard in a few hours. Sure, Esther Lee is playing a different course than everyone else, it seems, as she's -1 through 12 holes and -5 for the tournament, but nobody can keep that pace up for 42 more holes. And yes, Maiko Wakabayashi shot a 34 on the front to get within 2 of Lee, but this young gun is playing way over her head, as well. Nikki Campbell's falling back to E with a 74 to follow up on her opening 70 is a much better indication of where scores are heading today. Consider the following:

70: Shinobu Moromizato (+3, T13 so far)
71: Miyazato, Akane Iijima (+2, T10)
72: Yuki Ichinose (+2, T10), Kaori Higo (+4, T24)
73: Fukushima, Ayako Uehara (+3, T13), Eun-A Lim (+3, T13), Erina Hara (+4, T24)
74: Campbell, Bo-Bae Song (+5, T29), Sakura Yokomine (+7, T39), Mi-Jeong Jeon (+8, T43)
76: Mie Nakata (+3, T13), Hiroko Yamaguchi (+8, T43), Yun-Jye Wei (+13, T79)
77: Yukari Baba (+8, T43), Miki Saiki (+9, T59), Tamie Durdin (+13, T79)
78: Saiki Fujita (+11, T62)
80: Mayu Hattori (+12, T69)

Ouch! Wonder how top players like Momoko Ueda, Yuri Fudoh, Ji-Hee Lee, Miho Koga, Yuko Mitsuka, and Shiho Oyama will handle their final holes.... Stay tuned!

[Update 1 (3:48 am): Esther Lee had some trouble down the stretch, going +2 over her final 6 holes to end up with a 73, just as Maiko Wakabayashi fell back to -1 with her 72. So Miyazato and Fukushima are now in a tie for 4th with So-Hee Kim (74) and Yuka Kuriyama (70). Yuri Fudoh (71) and Momoko Ueda (74) are now T11 at +3. Ji-Hee Lee (76) and Yuko Mitsuka (75) are now T25 at +5. Miho Koga (75) is now T37 at +8. Chie Arimura (77) is now T51 at +10. More on Oyama and Midori Yoneyama soon.]

[Update 2 (4:04 am): Nice 71 by Midori Yoneyama to join the logjam at +3 (T10). Not-so-nice 79 by Shiho Oyama that dropped her all the way back to T47 at +9. Still, a bit better than that 16-year-old amateur, who followed up her 71 with an 86 and dropped to T71--just on the wrong side of the cut line, I believe.]

[Update 3 (4:08 am): Under the circumstances, Ji-Woo Lee's 73 wasn't all that bad--at +4, she's tied for 20th. Waiting for the regular JLPGA leaderboard to update....]

[Update 4 (12:56 pm): OK, here's the usual leaderboard and on it you can see what damage the last 11 holes did even to the leaders. Wakabayashi was -4 on the day until she doubled the medium-length par-4 8th and she never recovered from that. Esther Lee managed to birdie the medium-length par-4 9th to recover from a bogey on the 8th and shoot a 35 on the front, but like Wakabayashi, Campbell, Fukushima, Uehara, and Nakata, shot a 38 on the back. Miyazato was -3 through the 1st 5 holes but +2 the rest of the way. This course is tough!]

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