Sunday, September 6, 2009

Golf5 Ladies Sunday: Moromizato Emerges from Shootout with 5th Victory of 2009

Well, Ryo Ishikawa won big on the JGTO today, so the stars of the JLPGA would have to do something special to get any buzz of their own at the Golf5 Ladies. How about a shootout between some of the hottest young players on tour? The day began with Shinobu Moromizato and Sakura Yokomine, the tour's top 2, tied for the lead, but not playing in the final pairing. That honor went to Mi-Jeong Jeon, Miho Koga, and Yui Kawahara, who joined them at -8 through 36 holes. But that trio ended up being non-factors today. Koga took the lead alone on the 3rd hole with her 2nd birdie of the day, but after following them up with back-to-back bogeys, she was pretty much a non-factor the rest of the way. Jeon got it to -9 with a birdie on the par-3 8th, but a triple on the par-4 9th ended her hopes of winning 2 in a row. And Kawahara bogeyed 4 of her 1st 7 holes.

Just as the final pairing was struggling, Moromizato and Yokomine got hot. The former rattled off 3 birdies in a row mid-way through the front (her last was her 4th in 5 holes) to get to -11, while the latter matched her hole-for-hole except for a par on the 6th. But this wasn't to be a 2-golfer showdown. Playing 3 groups ahead of Moromizato and Yokomine, Miki Saiki picked up right where she had left off from yesterday's bogey-free 65 with birdies on 1, 4, 5, 8, and 9--and then eagled the 471-yard par-5 10th (the 5th of the day on that hole) to briefly take the lead at -12. And in the group right ahead of Moromizato's and Yokomine's, Chie Arimura shook off her walkoff double from moving day with 5 birdies in a row between the 6th and 10th holes to catch Saiki at -12. But that's when Moromizato showed why she's won the most tournaments and raked the most winnings her way this season. She responded with birdies on 11, 13, and 16 to get to -14. Trying to post a low number early, Saiki was able to birdie the par-5 16th, but that was her only one down the stretch and it only kept her at -12 after having bogeyed the long par-3 12th. Arimura, meanwhile, got it to -13 with a birdie on the par-3 15th. And Yokomine finally responded with back-to-back birdies of her own on the 15th and 16th. So heading into the last 2 holes, it was

-14 Moromizato
-13 Arimura
-12 Yokomine

But that's when the birdies ended for everyone. Everyone parred 17, but Arimura bogeyed the 371-yard final hole to give Moromizato a 2-shot lead as she played the 18th. And after she and Yokomine parred it, Moromizato walked off the green a 5-time winner on the JLPGA in 2009.

Here's how everyone ended up:

1st/-14 Shinobu Moromizato (67-69-66)
T2/-12 Miki Saiki (75-65-65), Chie Arimura (68-70-66), Sakura Yokomine (65-71-68)
T5/-10 Eun-A Lim (69-70-67), Hyun-Ju Shin (69-70-67)
7th/-9 Miho Koga (67-69-71)
T8/-8 Nobuko Kizawa (72-70-66), Hiromi Mogi (69-70-69), Yuko Saitoh (67-69-71), Mi-Jeong Jeon (68-68-72), Yui Kawahara (68-68-72)

Lim and Saitoh keep plugging along. Nice to see Shin getting her form back.

13th/-7 Yukari Baba (68-72-69)
T14/-6 Maiko Wakabayashi (68-70-72)
T17/-5 Ayako Uehara (73-69-69), Akane Iijima (73-69-70), Na-Ri Lee (70-70-71), Kumiko Kaneda (70-69-72)
T22/-4 Li-Ying Ye (70-73-69), Sakurako Mori (68-75-69), Nikki Campbell (73-69-70),
T28/-3 Midori Yoneyama (70-73-70), Mayu Hattori (73-69-71), Rui Kitada (72-70-71), Yuki Ichinose (71-71-71), Mie Nakata (69-71-73)
T36/-2 Yun-Jye Wei (69-71-74)
T40/-1 Bo-Bae Song (74-69-72), Rikako Morita (72-71-72)
46th/+1 So-Hee Kim (73-70-74)

Moromizato becomes the 1st player this season to break the 100 million yen barrier on the JLPGA. Here's how the money list now looks:

1. Shinobu Moromizato ¥108.70M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥87.54M
3. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥81.02M
4. Chie Arimura ¥78.86M
5. Yuko Mitsuka ¥64.15M
6. Ji-Hee Lee ¥47.83M
7. Miho Koga ¥44.82M
8. Yuko Saitoh ¥40.05M
9. Eun-A Lim ¥35.85M
10. Yukari Baba ¥31.32M
11. Erina Hara ¥29.59M
12. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥28.86M
13. Ayako Uehara ¥28.82M
14. Akiko Fukushima ¥28.74M
15. Tamie Durdin ¥25.98M
16. Rui Kitada ¥25.22M
17. Yuri Fudoh ¥23.34M
18. Miki Saiki ¥23.02M
19. Midori Yoneyama ¥22.96M
20. Rikako Morita ¥22.16M
21. Saiki Fujita ¥21.94M
22. Li-Ying Ye ¥21.82M
23. Ji-Woo Lee ¥21.68M
24. Na-Ri Lee ¥20.17M
25. Nikki Campbell ¥20.03M
26. Momoko Ueda ¥19.69M
27. Hiromi Mogi ¥19.33M
28. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥18.96M
29. Bo-Bae Song ¥16.74M
30. So-Hee Kim ¥16.50M
31. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥16.02M
32. Akane Iijima ¥15.70M
33. Mie Nakata ¥14.21M
34. Kaori Aoyama ¥13.76M
35. Julie Lu ¥13.27M

The big question now is whether the LPGA's Japanese contingent will be flying back for the season's 2nd major. Right now it's looking like only the Miyazato's will be playing in NW Arkansas instead of the Konica Minolta Cup, but they still have time to change their minds. I just can't see Ai Miyazato giving her competitors for Player of the Year an edge, though. And I don't think Mika Miyazato qualifies for it. So most likely the only JLPGA irregulars there will be Momoko Ueda and Shiho Oyama.

[Update 1 (7:19 pm): Thanks to The Squire for the linkage over at Golf Babes!]

[Update 2 (9/7/09, 4:40 am): Congratulations to Sun Ju Ahn on her huge KLPGA win over Ha Neul Kim, So Yeon Ryu, and Hee Kyung Seo, among others in the hunt on Sunday.]

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