Monday, April 13, 2009

Studio Alice Ladies Open Sunday: Yokomine Hauls Down Jeon over Last 4 Holes, Wins in Playoff

Sunday at the Studio Alice Ladies Open started off as a duel between 36-hole leaders Ai Miyazato and Mi-Jeong Jeon. Miyazato, however, peaked at -5 for the tournament after the 6th hole, but bogeyed 4 of her next 6 holes to fall 4 behind Jeon after 12 holes. So it was up to golfers playing in earlier pairings to pick up the slack and try to put some pressure on Jeon. 1st-round co-leader Rui Kitada was one of them. Starting the day in the next-to-last group, she fluctuated between -2 and -3 for the tournament for most of the day, until a birdie on the 399-yard par-4 14th brought her to -3 for good. And Sakura Yokomine was playing even better. Having started the day at even par, she rattled off 3 birdies in her 1st 7 holes, but a bogey in that stretch kept her at -2, where she stayed for the next 7 holes. Others making runs included Ji-Woo Lee (-3 through her 1st 11 holes to get to -1 for the tournament) and Ji-Hee Lee (who fell back to -1 for the tournament as well when she bogeyed the 11th), but they had caught Miyazato, not Jeon, who continued chugging along after a birdie on the par-5 10th hole brought her to -3 on the day and -6 for the tournament. In fact, when she stepped onto the 15th tee, she was 3 up on Kitada and Yokomine, who had birdied that hole a few minutes earlier. But Jeon bogeyed the 15th as Kitada birdied the 16th and Yokomine birdied the 17th, so all of a sudden she sat at -5 and her two challengers were only 1 shot back at -4. It all came down to 18, a 405-yard par 4. Yokomine parred it, Kitada bogeyed it...and Jeon did, too. Playoff time!

The only English-language account of the final round I could find,'s feed to the Kyodo news story, didn't bother to mention Kitada or anything that happened on the climactic 54th hole. Nor did it say anything about the playoff except that Yokomine won on its 2nd hole when she made a 3-footer for par on 18 after Jeon bogeyed it for the 2nd time that day.

Typical pitiful coverage from the people who are supposed to be pros. This is, after all, the 2nd huge collapse for Jeon over the final holes of a tournament that was hers for the taking. At the very end of last season, she gave a gift to Miho Koga, who won the JLPGA's season-ending major and the money title thanks to Jeon's bogey-double bogey finish. This time, another telegenic JLPGA star was the beneficiary of Jeon's collapse. And who deserved it more than Yokomine, who endured an epic fail of her own just over a year ago when duelling with Ji-Yai Shin?

So here are the final results:

1st/-4 Sakura Yokomine (71-73-68) [won in playoff]
2nd/-4 Mi-Jeong Jeon (69-72-71)
3rd/-3 Rui Kitada (69-73-71)
T4/-2 Ji-Woo Lee (74-72-68), Ji-Hee Lee (72-72-70)
T6/-1 Yukari Baba (77-68-70), Bo-Bae Song (72-70-73), Ai Miyazato (69-72-74)
T9/+1 Chie Arimura (72-75-70), Shinobu Moromizato (72-73-72), Eun-A Lim (75-68-74)

T12/+2 Erina Hara (76-69-73)
T15/+3 Ji-Yai Shin (74-75-70), Hyun-Ju Shin (73-71-75), Mie Nakata (71-72-76), Da-Ye Na (73-69-77)
T20/+4 Yuko Saitoh (73-72-74)
T23/+6 Maiko Wakabayashi (74-77-71), Nikki Campbell (75-72-75)
T27/+7 Saiki Fujita (76-71-76)
T30/+8 Yuki Ichinose (75-76-73), Na Zhang (74-74-76)
T34/+9 Hiroko Yamaguchi (74-74-77)
T37/+10 Ah-Reum Hwang (72-79-75), Esther Lee (74-75-77)
T46/+12 Tamie Durdin (76-71-81)

Here's how the JLPGA money list now stands:

1. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥20.48M
2. Yuko Mitsuka ¥18.92M
3. Ayako Uehara ¥18.78M
4. Sakura Yokomine ¥16.04M
5. Erina Hara ¥13.15M
6. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥11.05M
7. Ji-Woo Lee ¥10.32M
8. Bo-Bae Song ¥7.20M
9. Julie Lu ¥6.85M
10. Midori Yoneyama ¥6.19M
11. Rui Kitada ¥5.11M
12. Ji-Hee Lee ¥5.10M
13. Hiromi Mogi ¥5.10M
14. Miho Koga ¥4.63M
15. Nikki Campbell ¥4.34M
16. Yukari Baba ¥4.32M
17. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥4.10M
18. Shinobu Moromizato ¥4.06M

Next up is the Life Card Ladies, where Ji-Yai Shin will try her luck on the JLPGA once again. This time she'll be joined by fellow LPGAers Momoko Ueda and Shiho Oyama (but apparently not Ai-chan, darn it!), as well as JLPGA superstars Yuri Fudoh, Akiko Fukushima, and Miho Koga.

[Update 1 (12:58 pm): Looks Japanese tv made the same mistakes as their English-language print media:

Wouldn't you think they'd want to show a couple of the key shots down the stretch?]

No comments: