Sunday, August 16, 2009

NEC Karuizawa Ladies Sunday: Arimura-Mitsuka Shootout

As the lead groups enter the home stretch in the NEC Karuizawa 72 Ladies, the #5- and #6-ranked golfers on the JLPGA, Yuko Mitsuka and Chie Arimura, have put some daylight between themselves and the #2- and #3-ranked golfers on tour, Shinobu Moromizato and Mi-Jeong Jeon. After going +1 over her 1st 7 holes today to fall 1 behind Mitsuka, Arimura birdied 4 holes in a row starting on the 8th to get to -10 through the 1st 47 holes of the tournament. Mitsuka kept pace, though, with birdies on the 9th and 12th that kept her within a shot of the lead and give her a great chance to spoil Arimura's bid for a wire-to-wire win. Jeon, meanwhile, had climbed to -6 for the 4th time this week with a birdie on the par-3 3rd, but bogeys on the 5th, 6th, and 8th dropped her out of contention. Despite getting back to E on her day and -5 for the tournament with birdies on the 9th and 10th, Jeon has been passed by Moromizato, who's -4 through 14 holes of bogey-free golf and -6 overall.

Also making nice moves today are Miki Saiki, who birdied 4 of her 1st 10 holes to get to -4 for the tournament but has stalled there ever since, Rikako Morita, who birdied the 15th, 16th, and 17th to climb back to -1 with her 69 today, and So-Hee Kim, who birdied her last 2 holes for a 69 of her own that brought her back to E overall. And there are a handful of players--among them Momoko Ueda and Miho Koga--who are -2 with a few holes left to play in their rounds and have given themselves a chance for a top-10 finish (although Koga can't be happy with the bogeys she made on the 14th and 15th after shooting a 32 on the front). But generally the scoring has been fairly high. Ai Miyazato bogeyed 4 of her 1st 6 holes and hasn't added to her birdie on the 2nd all day; with 4 holes left to play, she's dropped to +2 overall, tied with the #1-ranked player on the JLPGA, Sakura Yokomine, who started hot with birdies on the 2nd and 3rd to fight back to E for the tournament, but could only manage 13 pars and 2 bogeys the rest of the way for a 72 that guarantees her worst finish of the season. #4-ranked Ji-Hee Lee finished at +1 for the day and the week, so will need a lot of help from those still on the course for her 15-event top-20 streak to continue. Defending champion Erina Hara closed with a 75 that leaves her 16 shots behind Arimura at the moment, while Akiko Fukushima's 76 dropped her 14 back.

At the time the JLPGA's on-line blackout went into place, Moromizato had 4 holes left to play and Arimura, Mitsuka, and Jeon 5. That's not much time for the higher-ranked players to horn in on the Arimura-Mitsuka shootout. A win for either would put them right alongside Yokomine and Moromizato for the JLPGA money-list lead, while an Arimura win would make her the 3rd to get a hat trick on tour this season and a Mitsuka win would make her the 5th to get a pair. We'll see who prevails pretty soon.

[Update 1 (4:22 am): Happy Fan has the round 2 overview from the 1st KLPGA event since their summer vacation came to a close. Kyeong Bae, Il Mi Chung, and Ran Hong lead heading into the final round, but there are 25 players within 5 shots of them and some of the top KLPGA stars are only 1 or 2 shots back, including defending champion Hee Kyeong Seo and money-list leader So Yeon Ryu. Young Kim is 1 back, H.J. Choi is 2 back, Soo-Yun Kang is 3 back, Eun-Hee Ji and M.J. Hur are 4 back, and Jee Young Lee is 5 back on the hilly, elevated course. Check out the Seoul discussion thread for commentary, links to and translations of articles, and more pictures.]

[Update 2 (4:46 am): Options for those LPGAers who don't have the JLPGA or KLPGA to run to when the big tour shuts down for mid-summer are decidedly less glamorous. Allison Fouch won a couple of thousand dollars for winning this week on the SunCoast Ladies Series, while Moira Dunn made almost twice as much for her T3 at the Canadian PGA Women's Championship, 3 shots behind Jessica Shepley, who got her 1st professional win there earlier this week. Shepley's back on the Futures Tour now and 6 behind the leader, Pernilla Lindberg (-8), who could jump into the top 10 on the money list if she can hold off Briana Vega (-7), Mina Harigae and Kim Welch (-6), and the other 12 players within 5 shots of her lead later today.]

[Update 3 (4:52 am): Back to the JLPGA, Arimura ended up making 7 straight pars to close out her round, while Mitsuka doubled the par-3 17th and bogeyed par-4 18th. Even though Moromizato, Jeon, and Ueda ended up shooting 33s on the back, they couldn't catch Arimura.]

[Update 4 (5:07 am): Here are the final results for the top 10 and notables:

1st/-10 Chie Arimura (66-71-69)
2nd/-8 Shinobu Moromizato (68-74-66)
3rd/-7 Mi-Jeong Jeon (67-72-70)
4th/-6 Yuko Mitsuka (69-69-72)
5th/-5 Momoko Ueda (70-73-68)
T6/-4 Miki Saiki (75-69-68), Kumiko Kaneda (74-70-68), Tomoko Kusakabe (69-71-72)
T9/-3 Eun-A Lim (71-72-70), Yuri Fudoh (71-71-71)

T11/-2 Miho Koga (72-72-70), Saiki Fujita (73-70-71)
T13/-1 Rikako Morita (74-72-69), Midori Yoneyama (71-71-73)
T16/E So-Hee Kim (72-75-69), Ji-Woo Lee (73-72-71), Nikki Campbell (73-72-71), Hiromi Mogi (73-71-72),
T23/+1 Ji-Hee Lee (71-73-73), Ai Miyazato (72-71-74)
T26/+2 Sakura Yokomine (73-73-72), Hyun-Ju Shin (73-73-72), Li-Ying Ye (75-70-73), Rui Kitada (69-74-75), Yukari Baba (69-74-75)
T35/+3 Esther Lee (76-70-73)
T39/+4 Durdin (74-73-73), Akiko Fukushima (71-73-76)
T44/+5 Maiko Wakabayashi (76-68-77)
T46/+6 Erina Hara (75-72-75), Yuki Sakurai (71-75-76)

Very nice result for struggling rookie Kumiko Kaneda. Also good to see Miki Saiki back in the top 10. But very disappointing results for Yokomine, Ji-Hee Lee, and Ai Miyazato.]

[Update 5 (5:18 am): We have a new #1 on the money list! The trio of 3-time winners in '09 are 1-2-3 on the list now.

1. Shinobu Moromizato ¥82.24M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥79.41M
3. Chie Arimura ¥73.43M
4. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥68.18M
5. Yuko Mitsuka ¥63.70M
6. Ji-Hee Lee ¥44.06M
7. Yuko Saitoh ¥38.40M
8. Miho Koga ¥33.50M
9. Eun-A Lim ¥31.05M
10. Erina Hara ¥29.14M
11. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥28.29M
12. Ayako Uehara ¥27.69M
13. Tamie Durdin ¥25.62M
14. Akiko Fukushima ¥24.19M
15. Rui Kitada ¥23.64M
16. Yuri Fudoh ¥22.73M
17. Midori Yoneyama ¥21.59M
18. Rikako Morita ¥21.11M
19. Ji-Woo Lee ¥20.67M
20. Li-Ying Ye ¥20.54M
21. Yukari Baba ¥20.47M
22. Momoko Ueda ¥19.69M
23. Nikki Campbell ¥19.48M
24. Saiki Fujita ¥18.31M
25. Na-Ri Lee ¥17.94M
26. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥16.94M
27. Miki Saiki ¥16.93M
28. Hiromi Mogi ¥16.92M
29. So-Hee Kim ¥15.45M
30. Bo-Bae Song ¥15.04M

Ji-Yai Shin drops to #38, while Ai Miyazato climbs to #74. It's that 1 bad round syndrome that's killed Ai-sama on the JLPGA this season.]

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