Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup Sunday: Wei Under Par!

Yun-Jye Wei took a page from the title of Stephanie Wei's blog and went way under par to take the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup for her 4th career JLPGA title and 1st since 2006. Her 66 brought her to -11 overall, which was just good enough to outdistance Mie Nakata (whose 67 was marred by bogeys on her 1st and last holes) and Inbee Park (whose 66 was marred by an opening double bogey). Sakura Yokomine won the battle of the final group with a 70, as Rikako Morita (73) and Sun Ju Ahn (72) dropped to T10 at -6, but '09's Player of the Year had to settle for T5, as Kaori Aoyama blew by her with a 67 to take solo 4th. Nice 65 by Mi-Jeong Jeon and 66 by Shinobu Moromizato to snag top 10s, as well.

Here's how the top 10 and notables finished:

1st/-11 Yun-Jye Wei (69-70-66)
T2/-10 Inbee Park (74-66-66), Mie Nakata (68-71-67)
4th/-9 Kaori Aoyama (72-68-67)
T5/-8 Rui Kitada (70-71-67), Akane Iijima (71-68-69), Sakura Yokomine (70-68-70)
9th/-7 Mi-Jeong Jeon (73-71-65)
T10/-6 Shinobu Moromizato (73-71-66), Sun Ju Ahn (72-66-72), Rikako Morita (67-70-73)

T13/-5 Miho Koga (73-68-70), Ji-Woo Lee (71-68-72)
T17/-4 Eun-A Lim (71-70-71), Midori Yoneyama (74-67-71)
T22/-3 Sakurako Mori (75-69-69), Momoko Ueda (73-70-71), Akiko Fukushima (73-69-71)
T26/-2 Ji-Hee Lee (74-70-70), Ayako Uehara (74-69-71), Na-Ri Lee (72-70-72), So-Hee Kim (71-71-72), Yuri Fudoh (72-68-74)
T31/-1 Bo-Bae Song (74-71-70), Hiromi Mogi (71-73-71), Young Kim (74-68-73), Nikki Campbell (73-66-76)
T38/E Yukari Baba (73-69-72), Miki Saiki (73-69-72)
T43/+1 Hyun-Ju Shin (74-70-73), Teresa Lu (73-70-74), Esther Lee (76-66-75)
T49/+3 Na-Ri Kim (72-73-74)

Pretty exciting result, even if Wei was only E over her last 5 holes. It gave lots of players chances to take a run at her, but in the end, nobody could beat her or force a playoff. Now, if Ya Ni Tseng hadn't taken down Karrie Webb on the LET/ALPG today and if Ahn had been able to put together a final-round charge to keep pace with everyone passing her, I would have had an even better title for this post than what I actually came up with: "Webb and Ahn Make it Deuces Wild in 2010." But you gotta work with what you've got, eh? And it shows just how amazing Ai Miyazato's 2-event winning streak to kick off the LPGA season was, doesn't it?

[Update 1 (5:50 am): Wei makes it 2 for Taiwan this week--a complete sweep in major women's tours! And she leaps to #2 on the JLPGA money list:

1. Sun Ju Ahn ¥15.90M
2. Yun-Jye Wei ¥14.73M
3. Inbee Park ¥11.25M
4. Kaori Aoyama ¥9.73M
5. Mie Nakata ¥6.80M
6. Shinobu Moromizato ¥6.43M
T7. Ji-Yai Shin ¥4.93M
T7. Chie Arimura ¥4.93M
9. Sakura Yokomine ¥4.81M
10. Rui Kitada ¥3.81M
11. Akane Iijima ¥3.33M
12. Ayako Uehara ¥3.05M
13. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥3.00M
14. Orie Fujino ¥2.53M
T15. Ai Miyazato ¥2.40M
T15. Saiki Fujita ¥2.40M
17. Nikki Campbell ¥2.02M
18. Miho Koga ¥2.02M
19. Rikako Morita ¥1.98M
20. Yuri Fudoh ¥1.86M
21. Yukari Baba ¥1.66M
T22. Natsu Nagai ¥1.59M
T22. Ji-Woo Lee ¥1.59M
24. Yuko Saitoh ¥1.47M
25. Momoko Ueda ¥1.36M

I wonder how motivated Inbee Park is to compete for JLPGA Rookie of the Year? Could be a great season-long shootout between her and Sun Ju Ahn if she decides to make the JLPGA her primary tour....]

[Update 2 (3/15/10, 2:20 am): Various sources are reporting that Inbee Park's double on 1 was the result of a volunteer telling Park's playing partners that her ball had moved on the 1st green and she hadn't replaced it. In Wei's words:

"What happened on the first green was that a volunteer saw her ball move and saw her take a putt without replacing it, but I and Nakata- san (Park's playing partners) weren't watching," Wei said.

"Three of us then decided we would talk to a tournament official if we saw one later in the round, but we didn't see any officials and just kept on playing as we were close in title contention."

Park was upset about the retroactive ruling that turned her tournament-winning 64 into a runner-up 66: "'I still can't accept this ruling for what happened,' she told a press conference. 'I believe I'm the winner of this tournament. But there is nothing I can do after all this, I guess.'"

Wow, I wonder how they verified that Park's ball actually moved?]

[Update 3 (2:20 pm): Nice post by Brent Kelley on Park's penalty and Wei's win. And thanks for the linkage to Mike at Ruthless Golf.]

[Update 4 (3/26/10, 12:18 am): Here's Park's account of what happened from an interview after the 1st round of the Kia Classic:

Q. How close did you come to winning those?
INBEE PARK: Second tournament, I really won that tournament but got a two‑stroke penalty.

Q. What happened there?
INBEE PARK: It was on the putting green, I was trying to finish the putt, and I didn't address the ball, but during my practice swing the ball moved, so I thought that wouldn't be a problem so I just finished it as it is. And they thought ‑‑ the rules officials in Japan thought that I made the ball move in the process of making a practice swing, so I got a penalty.

Q. Were you upset about that?
INBEE PARK: I got the penalty after everything was done, so I was disappointed, but what they say is what they said.

Q. Is that the first time anything like that has ever happened to you?
INBEE PARK: Yeah, first time that's happened.

Q. How did they determine? Did they watch replays?
INBEE PARK: They watched a video.

Q. Are you going to be more careful now?
INBEE PARK: I think I got to be more careful. I guess it was a really good experience.]

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