Sunday, March 7, 2010

Daikin Orchid Ladies Sunday: Just Like the Old Days...on the KLPGA?!

Sun Ju Ahn and Ji-Yai Shin are locked in an asynchronous duel in the final round of the JLPGA's kickoff event in 2010, the Daikin Orchid Ladies, just like they used to be 2 and more years ago on the KLPGA. Shin, going off 5 groups ahead of Ahn, is showing why she's been given the nickname "Final Round Queen." With 4 birdies and no bogeys over her 1st 17 holes, she's caught up to where Ahn stood at the end of the 2nd round. But Ahn is playing flawless golf of her own through her 1st 13 holes. Her back-to-back birdies on the par-5 11th and par-4 12th have brought her to -3 on the day and -8 overall.

That's not to say this is a 2-player race as the JLPGA live-scoring page enters its "tv timeout" phase. Chie Arimura climbed to -5, along with Shin, thanks to a birdie train that started on 12 and 13 and may well be continuing, while Kaori Aoyama has birdied every even-numbered hole on the back thus far to join her. One of yesterday's co-leaders, Okinawan Ayako Uehara, has made 1 lone bogey in a sea of pars thus far today and remains 4 back with 5 holes left to play. Her more famous countrywoman, Ai Miyazato, made it to -4 overall after a bogey-free 35 on the front, but bogeyed her 1st 2 odd-numbered holes on the back and is 6 back with only 4 left to play. The chances of her getting her 3rd straight worldwide win are looking pretty slim right now, even with a closing par 5 that has given up its share of birdies and even eagles this week. Meanwhile, in the next-to-last group, Bo-Bae Song had been struggling all day but was hanging tough, 4 behind Ahn, until a double bogey on the 13th dropped her back to Ai-sama territory. That means that Inbee Park is the only other player within 4 shots of the lead in the entire field. But after shooting a 34 on the front, Park has rattled off 7 pars in a row and is running out of chances to put pressure on Ahn.

As we wait for play to end, Sakura Yokomine (69), Nikki Campbell (70), and Yuko Saitoh (70) are the co-leaders in the clubhouse at -2. We'll see if the leaders can avoid the home stretch collapses that plagued so many yesterday.

[Update 1 (4:11 am): In the end, Ahn made it boring! She birdied her last 2 holes to get to -10 and take a 5-shot victory over her former KLPGA rival Shin (among others). Here's how everyone ended up:

1st/-10 Sun Ju Ahn (69-70-67)
T2/-5 Ji-Yai Shin (71-72-68), Inbee Park (71-71-69), Shinobu Moromizato (72-69-70), Kaori Aoyama (72-69-70), Chie Arimura (72-68-71)
T7/-3 Saiki Fujita (73-70-70), Ai Miyazato (70-71-72), Ayako Uehara (69-70-74)
T10/-2 Sakura Yokomine (72-73-69), Nikki Campbell (70-74-70), Yuko Saitoh (75-69-70)

T13/-1 Junko Omote (70-71-74), Yuri Fudoh (69-72-74), Yukari Baba (69-70-76)
T16/E Miho Koga (72-73-71), Miki Saiki (73-71-72), Hiromi Mogi (73-71-72), Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-70-74), Bo-Bae Song (69-71-76)
T25/+1 Momoko Ueda (70-74-73)
T27/+2 Ji-Hee Lee (75-72-71)
T32/+3 Mayu Hattori (75-72-72), Eun-A Lim (77-69-73), Rui Kitada (74-71-74), Hyun-Ju Shin (71-73-75), Rikako Morita (67-77-75), Mie Nakata (72-71-76), Ritsuko Ryu (68-74-77)
T40/+4 Ji-Woo Lee (74-73-73), Yuki Ichinose (74-71-75)
T47/+5 Young Kim (71-76-74)
T58/+9 So-Hee Kim (70-74-81)

Looks like Moromizato and Arimura are picking up right where they left off last season. Although Yokomine is still a little rusty, she still managed to snag a top 10, which is more than other elite JLPGA regulars (from Fudoh to Koga to Jeon to Song to Lee) and irregulars (from Ueda to Kim) can say. Speaking of the latter, a very impressive finish for Inbee Park this week! I can't feel too bad for Ai-sama, in the end, as she never played well enough to win.]

[Update 2 (4:22 am): Here's who's in the top spots on the new JLPGA money list:

1. Sun Ju Ahn ¥14.40M
T2. Ji-Yai Shin ¥4.93M
T2. Inbee Park ¥4.93M
T2. Shinobu Moromizato ¥4.93M
T2. Kaori Aoyama ¥4.93M
T2. Chie Arimura ¥4.93M
T7. Saiki Fujita ¥2.40M
T7. Ayako Uehara ¥2.40M
T7. Ai Miyazato ¥2.40M
T10. Sakura Yokomine ¥1.47M
T10. Nikki Campbell ¥1.47M
T10. Yuko Saitoh ¥1.47M

It'll be interesting to see how long the various LPGAers stay in Japan! Next up is the Yokohama PRGR Ladies Cup, for which the field list has not yet been released.]


maddogrick said...

Thanks for doing these updates! I think they're terrific and fill a gap in professional ladies golf coverage.

The Constructivist said...

Thanks! I was bothered by that gap, myself, which is why I keep doing it.