Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daikin Orchid Ladies Sunday: Can Yuko Mitsuka Hold On?

In her bid to become the 1st winner on the JLPGA in 2009 and notch her 3rd career win on tour, Yuko Mitsuka has taken a 3-shot lead on Ayako Uehara into the final 5 holes of the Daikin Ladies Orchid. The 11th-ranked and 18th-ranked players at the end of last season have played very different kinds of rounds before heading into the home stretch. Uehara has played steady, bogey-free golf, but only has a single birdie, on the par-4 2nd, to show for her efforts. Still, when Mitsuka made her 3rd bogey in her last 6 holes on the par-4 10th, offsetting her 3 earlier birdies, her lead had slipped to 1. But she's bounced back with consecutive birdies on the par-5 11th and par-4 12th to extend her lead to 3. Meanwhile, Erina Hara has birdied 3 holes between the 12th and 15th to pull within 1 of Uehara and 4 of Mitsuka. Back with more when the JLPGA lifts their freeze on their live scoring page!

[Update 1 (4:35 am): Wow, Mitsuka sure made it interesting down the stretch, didn't she? With back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes, she fell back to -8, but neither Uehara nor Hara could make a charge. Here are the final results:

1st/-8 Yuko Mitsuka (70-66-72)
T2/-6 Erina Hara (70-71-69), Ayako Uehara (69-69-72)
T4/-5 Bo-Bae Song (68-76-67), Sakura Yokomine (68-75-68), Hiromi Mogi (74-68-69), Mi-Jeong Jeon (70-72-69), Tamie Durdin (69-71-71)
T9/-4 Nikki Campbell (71-73-68), Yukari Baba (75-68-69), Yuri Fudoh (72-71-69)

T12/-3 Yuko Saitoh (73-71-69), Miho Koga (71-72-69)
T16/-2 Ji-Woo Lee (73-72-69), Maiko Wakabayashi (72-73-69), Hyun-Ju Shin (71-74-69)
T22/-1 Midori Yoneyama (76-68-71), Akane Iijima (71-71-73)
T30/E Yuki Ichinose (71-73-72)
T33/+1 Chie Arimura (73-73-71), Shinobu Moromizato (69-75-73), Miki Saiki (71-71-75)
T43/+2 Rikako Morita (75-72-72)
T45/+3 Mai Arai (79-67-73), Mie Nakata (72-72-75)
T49/+4 Saiki Fujita (75-72-73)
T53/+7 Woo-Soon Ko (78-69-76)
56th/+11 Riko Higashio (75-72-80)

Mitsuka's win is her 4th straight top 5 and 7th in her last 13 events. Her worst finish in that stretch is T22, so you know she's been playing very well coming into the 2009 season. With 5 players breaking 70 twice this week, though, it looks like maintaining that streak will be a challenge.]

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