Mi-Jeong Jeon was already well on her way to her 3rd million-yen season in her 5-year JLPGA career heading into the Sankyo Ladies Open this week, but after a bogey-free 66 in the opening round, she's put herself on track for her 4th win of 2009, which would make this season her best-ever. On a day when many top players withdrew--including last week's Japan Women's Open champion, Bo-Bae Song--or blew up--including LPGA Q-School-bound Yuko Mitsuka (80), LPGA Super Soph Momoko Ueda (77), and JLPGA money-list leader Shinobu Moromizato (75)--Jeon played a flawless round of golf in what must have been trying weather conditions.
Only 1 other player in the field broke 70, and Mayu Hattori needed birdies in 3 of her last 4 holes to get her 69. Akane Iijima opened with a bogey-free 32, but needed a walkoff birdie on the par-5 18th to salvage a 70. By contrast, Maiko Wakabayashi opened with a birdie-less 39, but closed with a walkoff eagle that gave her a 32 on the back. Last year's money list leader Miho Koga got it to -3 with only a few holes to play, but bogeyed 2 of them to fall back to 71. In all, only 9 players ended up under par today.
Here are the top 10 and notables:
1st/-6 Mi-Jeong Jeon (66)
2nd/-3 Mayu Hattori (69)
T3/-2 Akane Iijima, Michie Ohba (70)
T5/-1 Sakura Yokomine, Miho Koga, Chie Arimura, Maiko Wakabayashi, Mayumi Nakajima (71)
T10/E Rui Kitada, Mika Takushima, Tomomi Hirose (72)
T13/+1 Yukari Baba, Na-Ri Lee, Kumiko Kaneda (73)
T21/+2 Ai Miyazato, Yuri Fudoh, Ayako Uehara, Julie Lu, Yun-Jye Wei (74)
T29/+3 Shinobu Moromizato, Ji-Hee Lee, Ji-Woo Lee, Yuki Ichinose, Sakurako Mori (75)
T40/+4 Nikki Campbell, So-Hee Kim, Midori Yoneyama, Esther Lee, Mai Arai (76)
T56/+5 Momoko Ueda, Erina Hara, Ah-Reum Hwang (77)
T66/+6 Akiko Fukushima, Woo-Soon Ko, Eun-A Lim, Miki Saiki, Hiromi Mogi, Mie Nakata (78)
T86/+8 Yuko Mitsuka (80)
WD Bo-Bae Song, Hyun-Ju Shin, Saiki Fujita
Jeon's 3 wins this season have come in dominating fashion. She seems to have really turned the corner on a stretch at the end of last season and start of this one when she would cough up the lead down the stretch. Let's see if she can keep the pedal to the metal and avoid Mika Miyazato's final-round fate from last week.