Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hisako Higuchi IDC Otsuka Ladies Sunday: Mayu Hattori Gets 1st Career Win

This June, 20-year-old Chie Arimura got her 1st career win against the likes of Yuri Fudoh and Shiho Oyama, so even though she hadn't been playing all that well since mid-summer, she was the clear favorite heading into the final round of the Hisako Higuchi IDC Otsuka Ladies event on the JLPGA. But 20-year-old Mayu Hattori and Maiko Wakabayashi, along with 22-year-old Esther Lee, gave her a serious run for her money. In the end, it came down to the final hole, a 485-yard par 5. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

All 4 players birdied the 1st hole, but where Wakabayashi and Hattori made a birdie and a bogey over the rest of the front, Lee's birdie on the 9th brought her to -6 and into a tie for 1st with Arimura, 2 ahead of the chase pair. Wakabayashi made 6 pars in a row to begin the back, while the other leaders struggled. Arimura dropped to -5 with a bogey on the long par 4 10th. Lee bogeyed the 11th, another long par 4, to join her, right after Hattori's bogey there dropped her to -3. At this point, Ji-Woo Lee, playing in the next-to-last group with Wakabayashi, surfaced with a birdie that brought her to -4, joining Rui Kitada, who had been hanging at -4 for most of the day while her playing partner Hattori rode the roller coaster. Hattori joined them with a birdie on the short par 4 13th, but when Arimura also birdied it to return to -6 and Esther Lee bogeyed the 14th and 15th to drop to -3, it seemed like Arimura was in control, particularly when Kitada tripled the 14th and Ji-Woo Lee made back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th in the groups ahead of her. However, Hattori's back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th brought her into a tie with Arimura, and when Wakabayashi birdied the long par 5 16th, she pulled within 1 of the lead, as well. Esther Lee also birdied 16 to get back within 2 shots of Arimura and Hattori, who closed out her round with a par on the short par 5 final hole. Wakabayashi, meanwhile, bogeyed the 17th and could only manage a par on the 18th.

So coming into the final hole Esther Lee needed an eagle to have a hope of joining Hattori at -6, while Arimura needed a birdie for the win and a par to force a playoff. Lee birdied to finish at -5, but Arimura could only manage a double bogey. The Kyodo News story isn't out yet, so I don't know how Arimura handed Hattori the win just yet. But the fact remains that Hattori joins fellow young Japanese stars Erina Hara, Arimura, and Wakabayashi in the winner's circle in 2008.

Here are the final results for the top 10 and notables who made the cut:

1st/-6 Hattori (70-71-69)
2nd/-5 Esther Lee (73-67-71)
T3/-4 Wakabayashi (72-69-71), Arimura (72-66-74)
T5/-3 Sakura Yokomine (71-72-70), Shinobu Moromizato (71-71-71), Yayoi Arasaki (70-72-71), Natsu Nagai (72-70-71), Michie Ohba (71-69-73)
T10/-2 Ayako Uehara (72-73-69), Yuko Mitsuka (69-75-70), Ji-Woo Lee (72-69-73), Mie Nakata (72-69-73)

T14/-1 Rui Kitada (71-70-74)
T17/E Miho Koga (71-77-68)
T20/+1 Yun-Jye Wei (71-75-72), Nikki Campbell (73-73-72)
T26/+2 Erina Hara (70-76-72)
T28/+3 Saiki Fujita (74-74-71), Mi-Jeong Jeon (73-72-74)
T36/+4 Midori Yoneyama (76-71-73), Hiromi Mogi (72-73-75)
T42/+5 Tamie Durdin (72-76-73)
T46/+7 Yuki Ichinose (72-77-74)

And here's the new money list:

1. Ji-Hee Lee ¥112.00M
2. Akiko Fukushima ¥87.70M
3. Sakura Yokomine ¥83.06M
4. Miho Koga ¥82.84M
5. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥77.86M
6. Yuri Fudoh ¥75.37M
7. Shiho Oyama ¥70.31M
8. Yuko Mitsuka ¥65.38M
9. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥64.20M
10. Erina Hara ¥61.39M
11. Ayako Uehara ¥60.18M
12. Eun-A Lim ¥59.40M
13. Shinobu Moromizato ¥55.92M
14. Esther Lee ¥51.89M
15. Bo-Bae Song ¥51.55M
16. Hiromi Mogi ¥49.79M
17. Akane Iijima ¥48.52M
18. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥47.42M
19. Momoko Ueda ¥45.58M
20. Chie Arimura ¥45.45M
21. Miki Saiki ¥43.72M
22. Ji-Woo Lee ¥42.33M
23. Mayu Hattori ¥41.69M
24. Hiroko Yamaguchi ¥41.35M
25. Yukari Baba ¥40.76M
26. Midori Yoneyama ¥34.76M
27. Rui Kitada ¥33.98M
28. Saiki Fujita ¥29.78M
29. Nikki Campbell ¥26.14M
30. Mie Nakata ¥26.02M

[Update 1 (7:54 am): Here's the Kyodo story.]

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