Yuri Fudoh, the JLPGA's 1st and only billion-yen woman, has been an afterthought for most of 2009 as the prime-time players this season have been those former young guns whose careers are now in ther prime, from Shinobu Moromizato and Sakura Yokomine to Mi-Jeong Jeon and Chie Arimura. Well, after starting the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic with a 31 and following it up with a 32, Fudoh has laid down a challenge to the rest of the JLPGA. But when the top dozen players on the leaderboard made a total of 3 bogeys on the day, you know that they met it with flying colors. Yukari Baba (31-34) and Erina Hara (32-33) each eagled the short par-5 5th to stay 2 shots behind, and they were joined by Maiko Wakabayashi, who made 7 birdies for her 65. Sakura Yokomine also eagled the 5th but had to settle for a 66, while a bogey on her penultimate hole made 67 the best that Chie Arimura could achieve. Meanwhile, money-list leader Shinobu Moromizato made her 3rd win in a row very difficult to achieve by finishing +3 over her last 10 holes after making birdies on 2 of her 1st 5.
Here's how the top 10 and notables fared:
1st/-9 Yuri Fudoh (63)
T2/-7 Erina Hara, Yukari Baba, Maiko Wakabayashi (65)
5th/-6 Sakura Yokomine (66)
T6/-5 Chie Arimura, Ji-Hee Lee (67)
T8/-4 Rui Kitada, So-Hee Kim, Kaori Aoyama, Yumiko Yoshida, Orie Fujino (68)
T13/-3 Akiko Fukushima, Hyun-Ju Shin, Ji-Woo Lee, Nikki Campbell, Yuki Ichinose, Sakurako Mori (69)
T25/-2 Mi-Jeong Jeon, Miho Koga, Ah-Reum Hwang, Miki Saiki, Akane Iijima, Na-Ri Lee (70)
T37/-1 Rikako Morita, Midori Yoneyama, Hiromi Mogi, Mie Nakata, Yun-Jye Wei, Kumiko Kaneda (71)
T49/E Li-Ying Ye, Saiki Fujita, Mayu Hattori (72)
T64/+1 Shinobu Moromizato, Eun-A Lim, Ayako Uehara (73)
T79/+2 Esther Lee (74)
T86/+3 Mai Arai (75)
T89/+4 Woo-Soon Ko, Da-Ye Na (76)
Hwang tripled the 9th but bounced back with 5 straight birdies on the back, while Saiki's only big mistake on the day was a double on the long par-4 7th. Doubles also held back Morita and Yoneyama. So we know there are some big numbers out there should the low-to-mid-60s shooters stumble today....