The stars are out tonight at the Masters GC Ladies. At the end of the 1st round, the top 2 players on the JLPGA are locked in a duel for the top spot. Sakura Yokomine shot a bogey-free 68, but the woman she's chasing for her 1st-ever money-list title, Shinobu Moromizato, topped her with a 6-birdie 67.
A huge part of what distinguished their rounds from the rest of the field was how solidly they played the 1st and last trio of holes. No bogeys over those 6 holes may not sound like much, but of those in the top 30, only Ji-Yai Shin (70), Ji-Hee Lee (71), Hiromi Takesue (72), Mi-Jeong Jeon (73), Mayu Hattori (73), Mai Arai (73), Yuko Fukuda (73), and Yuka Shiroto (73) were able to match that feat and only Yukari Baba (70), Hiromi Mogi (70), and Ah-Reum Hwang (72) were able to join Takesue, Arai, Fukuda, and Shiroto in outdoing Moromizato and Yokomine by going -1 in that stretch. Among those with notable difficulties there, Eun-A Lim bogeyed the 17th, but at least she shot a 69 today (thanks to 4 birdies in a row on the front), as did Ayako Uehara (who bogeyed 16), Aiko Ueno (who bogeyed 18), and Mayumi Shimomura (who followed up an eagle on the par-5 12th with a bogey on 17th). Yuko Mitsuka (71), who matched Lim's feat with 4 straight birdies on the back, just missed ending her round with 4 straight bogeys when she managed a par on the 18th. Kuniko Maeda did well to come back to E on her day after a double bogey-bogey finish on the back side (her front), while Yuki Sakurai had to settle for a 74 after a similar stumble at the turn. Meanwhile, Yasuko Satoh tripled the 17th for a 73, while Midori Yoneyama bogeyed 1 and 2 and doubled the 16th on the way to her 75. Even LPGA notables playing on the JLPGA this week stumbled down the stretch: Paula Creamer (72) and Stacy Lewis (70) both bogeyed 17, while Momoko Ueda (75) finished bogey-bogey-double bogey.
Clearly, the winner this week will have to take advantage of the middle 12 holes and hang on during the surrounding 6. Will it be Moromizato, Yokomine, or someone else who's able to do this on the weekend?
Here are the top 10 and notables:
1st/-5 Shinobu Moromizato (67)
2nd/-4 Sakura Yokomine (68)
T3/-3 Eun-A Lim, Ayako Uehara, Mayumi Shimomura, Aiko Ueno (69)
T7/-2 Ji-Yai Shin, Stacy Lewis, Akiko Fukushima, Yukari Baba, Miki Saiki, Hiromi Mogi, Eun-Hye Lee (70)
T14/-1 Yuko Mitsuka, Ji-Hee Lee (71)
T17/E Paula Creamer, Chie Arimura, Miho Koga, Rikako Morita, Ah-Reum Hwang, Saiki Fujita (72)
T29/+1 Mi-Jeong Jeon, Woo-Soon Ko, Bo-Bae Song, Yuko Saitoh, Mayu Hattori, Yun-Jye Wei, Sakurako Mori, Mai Arai, Riko Higashio (73)
T43/+2 Tamie Durdin, Hyun-Ju Shin, Esther Lee, Yuki Ichinose, Yuki Sakurai (74)
T57/+3 Momoko Ueda, Midori Yoneyama, So-Hee Kim, Akane Iijima, Ritsuko Ryu, Yumiko Yoshida (75)
T71/+4 Erina Hara, Ji-Woo Lee, Kumiko Kaneda (76)
T84/+5 Julie Lu (77)
T93/+6 Rui Kitada, Maiko Wakabayashi, Na-Ri Lee (78)
107th/+14 Ai-Yu Tu (86)
WD Mie Nakata