Akiko Fukushima can be one of the most exciting golfers in the world. Like Karrie Webb, Sophie Gustafson, Helen Alfredsson, and Hee Young Park she's not afraid to go super-low and she can make birdies in bunches, but she's also wildly inconsistent. If you like roller coasters, these are the players to follow in women's golf. For a long time this season on the JLPGA, Fukushima hadn't been worth following, however. But her 65 today in the Masters GC Ladies shows exactly how explosive she can be. Fukushima shot a fine bogey-free 34 on the front, yet still trailed 1st-round leader Shinobu Moromizato and a charging Yukari Baba. Starting on the par-5 12th and ending on the par-5 15th, though, she changed the complexion of the entire tournament, going eagle-birdie-birdie-eagle to get to -10. Still, a bogey on the tough par-3 17th forced her to settle for a 31 on the back, allowing Moromizato's walkoff birdie to pull her within 1 of the lead. With lots of great players lurking, anything can happen tomorrow!
1st/-9 Akiko Fukushima (70-65)
2nd/-8 Shinobu Moromizato (67-69)
T3/-6 Yukari Baba (70-68), Eun-A Lim (69-69)
T5/-5 Chie Arimura (72-67), Yuko Mitsuka (71-68)
T7/-4 Ji-Hee Lee (71-69), Ji-Yai Shin (70-70), Stacy Lewis (70-70), Ayako Uehara (69-71)
Momoko Ueda and Paula Creamer barely made the cut, while Sakura Yokomine fell off the pace and Mi-Jeong Jeon and Miho Koga couldn't get anything going for the 2nd day in a row.
T11/-3 Sakura Yokomine (68-73)
T13/-2 Ah-Reum Hwang (72-70), Hiromi Mogi (70-72)
T17/-1 Mi-Jeong Jeon (73-70), Miki Saiki (70-73)
T20/E Mayu Hattori (73-71), Miho Koga (72-72)
T25/+1 Kumiko Kaneda (76-69), Akane Iijima (75-70), Rikako Morita (72-73)
T33/+2 Yumiko Yoshida (75-71), Hyun-Ju Shin (74-72), Yuki Ichinose (74-72), Bo-Bae Song (73-73)
T41/+3 Midori Yoneyama (75-72), Yun-Jye Wei (73-74)
T46/+4 Rui Kitada (78-70), Momoko Ueda (75-73), Tamie Durdin (74-74), Esther Lee (74-74), Woo-Soon Ko (73-75), Yuko Saitoh (73-75), Mai Arai (73-75), Paula Creamer (72-76), Saiki Fujita (72-76)
Lots of mid-level players missed the cut, but 1 big name did, as well--Erina Hara's run of bad play continues.
T59/+5 Maiko Wakabayashi (78-71), Erina Hara (76-73), Sakurako Mori (73-76)
T65/+6 Ji-Woo Lee (76-74), Yuki Sakurai (74-76)
T73/+7 Na-Ri Lee (79-72), Ritsuko Ryu (75-76)
T84/+8 Julie Lu (77-75), Riko Higashio (73-79)
T90/+9 So-Hee Kim (75-78)
105th/+16 Ai-Yu Tu (86-74)
Let's see if anyone will take a run at Fukushima and Moromizato tomorrow!
[Update 1 (7:52 am): Great photos over at the Seoul Sisters.com thread. And speaking of the Seoul Sisters, check out Happy Fan's blog for reports on the 1st 2 rounds of the KLPGA's final major, where amateur Hana Jang will be trying to keep Hee Kyung Seo from getting her 3rd major victory of 2009 over the weekend.]