Yup, I'm referring to the LPGA's own 33rd-ranked Ai Miyazato, who bounced back from last week's horrible Kraft Nabisco Championship and shrugged off this week's jet lag to fire a fine 69 today at the Studio Alice Ladies Open. She shares the lead with JLPGA regulars Mi-Jeong Jeon and Rui Kitada, the only other players to break 70 in the field.
And what a field it is! Sure, there's no Yuri Fudoh, Miho Koga, Momoko Ueda, Akiko Fukushima, or Shiho Oyama, but the rest of the JLPGA's finest are there, including the returning Na Zhang and the visiting Ji-Yai Shin. Too bad for Ai-chan she followed up three-hole birdie trains on each side with a 3-hole bogey train down the home stretch.
But she wasn't the only player to suffer on the back. Kitada was -5 and playing bogey-free golf through her first 14 holes, so of course she bogeyed the par-3 15th and par-4 17th to close out her round. And Jeon cooled off fast after making birdies on 4 of her 1st 5 holes. After a bogey on the par-4 6th, she rattled off 12 straight pars. In fact, the best round on the back belonged to last week's winner, Ah-Reum Hwang, a bogey-free 34...marred only by a crushing walkoff double bogey. And Shin? A 39 on the back dropped her all the way back to T18. Even with a late double, Zhang made up a stroke on Shin on that side to match her 74. So we know the course isn't playing easy....
Here are the top 10 and notables:
T1/-3 Ai Miyazato, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Rui Kitada (69)
T4/-1 Sakura Yokomine, Mie Nakata, Natsu Nagai, Yui Mukaiyama (71)
T8/E Ji-Hee Lee, Bo-Bae Song, Shinobu Moromizato, Chie Arimura, Ah-Reum Hwang, Azumi Katoh (72)
T14/+1 Hyun-Ju Shin, Yuko Saitoh, Da-Ye Na (73)
T18/+2 Ji-Yai Shin, Ayako Uehara, Na Zhang, Maiko Wakabayashi, Mayu Hattori, Ji-Woo Lee, Esther Lee, Hiroko Yamaguchi (74)
T36/+3 Eun-A Lim, Nikki Campbell, Yuki Ichinose, Woo-Soon Ko, Rui Yokomine (75)
T51/+4 Erina Hara, Saiki Fujita, Tamie Durdin, Sakurako Mori, Kumiko Kaneda (76)
T67/+5 Midori Yoneyama, Yukari Baba (77)
T82/+7 Hiromi Mogi (79)
T87/+8 Yuko Mitsuka, Miki Saiki (80)
T94/+9 Akane Iijima, Rikako Morita (81)
T100/+10 Yun-Jye Wei (82)
Mitsuka, one of the hottest players on tour coming into this event, accounted for 40% of the triples in the field--of course, both came on the back.