Friday, March 20, 2009

Yokohama PRGR Ladies Cup Friday: Uehara Opens Up a 5-Shot Lead after Opening with a 64

Ayako Uehara passed up a good chance to steal a victory away from Yuko Mitsuka in the JLPGA's opening event a couple of weeks ago in Okinawa, but she's put herself in the driver's seat this week in Shikoku at the Yokohama PRGR Ladies, thanks to a stretch where she made 8 birdies in 11 holes on her way to a bogey-free 64 and a 5-shot lead on Yayoi Arasaki. She won't have to worry about defending champion Ji-Yai Shin, who beat Sakura Yokomine in a playoff, thanks mostly to Yokomine's yips down the stretch--Shin's playing in the LPGA's MasterCard Classic this week. And it appears Uehara won't have to worry much about Yokomine, either, as she's opened up a 10-shot lead on her as they head into the weekend. More of a threat is the JLPGA's top golfer of 2008, Ji-Hee Lee, who was in contention here last year until a final-round 77 knocked her back into a tie for 4th with Miho Koga. But a 7-shot deficit is a lot to make up in 36 holes.

Still, given how high the scoring was today and has been in the recent past (only 3 players ended last year's tournament under par), anything can happen this weekend. Take a look at the top 10 and notables:

1st/-8 Ayako Uehara (64)
2nd/-3 Yayoi Arasaki (69)
3rd/-2 Ah-Reum Hwang (70)
T4/-1 Ji-Hee Lee, Shinobu Moromizato, Kaori Aoyama (71)
T7/E Hyun-Ju Shin, Midori Yoneyama, Ritsuko Ryu, Namika Omata, Mayumi Nakajima, Toshimi Kimura (72)

T13/+1 Miho Koga, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Yuko Saitoh, So-Hee Kim (73)
T19/+2 Sakura Yokomine, Yuko Mitsuka, Mayu Hattori, Miki Saiki, Saiki Fujita, Rui Kitada, Michiko Hattori, Rui Yokomine (74)
T35/+3 Woo-Soon Ko, Esther Lee, Yuki Ichinose, Rikako Morita (75)
T48/+4 Eun-A Lim, Hiromi Mogi, Mie Nakata, Yukari Baba, Nikki Campbell, Yuki Sakurai (76)
T64/+5 Erina Hara, Ji-Woo Lee, Maiko Wakabayashi, Tamie Durdin (77)
T72/+6 Hiroko Yamaguchi, Chie Arimura, Akane Iijima (78)
T84/+7 Yuri Fudoh, Sakurako Mori (79)
T94/+8 Akiko Fukushima, Kaori Higo (80)
106th/+11 Kumiko Kaneda (83)

It looks to me like there were at least as many double bogeys made today as birdies. I have to assume the weather was bad, but all I can tell from the Weather Channel is that some very high-top clouds blew quickly over Shikoku during the day, so let's say it was windy and rainy. Hopefully conditions will be nicer over the weekend!

No comments: