Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can Miho Koga Return to the Winner's Circle at the Yamaha Ladies Open?

With 6 holes to play, 2008 JLPGA money-list queen Miho Koga is tied for the lead at the Yamaha Ladies Open with Chieko Amanuma, who needed to play Q-School last season to retain her card. With 8 of the tour's 10 finest players competing in the Kraft Nabisco Championship (minus Ai Miyazato, who missed the cut {sob!}), and with a a 3-shot lead on Sun-Ju Ahn (who's on the 17th) and a 4-shot lead on Yuri Fudoh (also on the 17th) and Bo-Bae Song (stuck in neutral on the 13th), Koga has a great opportunity to face down the lesser players hot on her heels, bounce back from yesterday's 74 and secure her 1st win since the last event of 2008. To do that, she'll need to hold off a charging Hiroko Ayada, who's -6 on her day and -5 on the back with 2 holes left to play.

[Update 1 (12:52 am): With Amanuma's bogey on the 13th, Koga has a 1-shot lead on her, Ayada (who's on the 18th), and Ah-Reum Hwang (also in the final group) as the JLPGA's online tv timeout kicks in. In the group ahead of them, Hiromi Takesue is 2 back and Bo-Bae Song is 4 back. I'm rooting for Koga!]

[Update 2 (4:30 am): Koga did it! But Ayada and Hwang made her work for the win. Ayada birdied 18 to shoot a bogey-free 65 and end the tournament at -2. Hwang bogeyed 15 but birdied 16 and 17 to get to -3. Koga birdied 15 but bogeyed 16 and parred 17 to drop back into a tie with them. It all came down to the 18th, which Koga birdied and Hwang didn't. More details, scores, and money list update later. I just spent a few hours commenting on the draft of the SUNY Strategic Plan (just like grading a paper!) and I need to sleep!]

[Update 3 (3:09 pm): Here's the final leaderboard:

1st/-4 Miho Koga (68-74-70)
T2/-3 Hiroko Ayada (76-72-65), Ah-Reum Hwang (70-74-69)
T4/-2 Hiromi Takesue (73-72-69), Chieko Amanuma (71-71-72)
6th/-1 Sun-Ju Ahn (78-70-67)
7th/E Bo-Bae Song (72-73-71)
T8/+1 So-Hee Kim (74-74-69), Saori Ikushima (74-74-69), Yuri Fudoh (70-78-69)

T11/+2 Na-Ri Kim (78-72-68), Hiromi Mogi (73-73-72)
13th/+3 Ji-Hee Lee (74-74-72)
T18/+6 Yukari Baba (77-75-70), Eun-A Lim (70-80-72), Miki Saiki (78-71-73), Ji-Woo Lee (73-75-74), Rui Kitada (73-73-76), Tamie Durdin (72-74-76)
T26/+7 Kaori Aoyama (73-78-72), Na-Ri Lee (76-72-75)
T33/+8 Yun-Jye Wei (7-76-71), Maiko Wakabayashi (75-76-73)
38th/+9 Esther Lee (78-71-76)
T39/+10 Rikako Morita (77-77-72), Nikki Campbell (76-78-72)
T46/+11 Mayu Hattori (79-75-73)
T52/+12 Jae-Hee Bae (75-74-79)

MC: Hyun-Ju Shin (77-78), Kumiko Kaneda (77-78), Sakurako Mori (76-79), Ritsuko Ryu (77-81), Yuko Saitoh (78-80), Ayako Uehara (76-82), Yuki Ichinose (76-82), Li-Ying Ye (81-78), Erina Hara (87-81)
WD: Mie Nakata (80-WD)

Yeah, the weather conditions were truly awful the 1st 2 days, obviously.
And here's the new money list:

1. Sun Ju Ahn ¥21.82M
2. Rui Kitada ¥17.17M
3. Yun-Jye Wei ¥16.82M
4. Miho Koga ¥16.65M
5. Inbee Park ¥11.25M
6. Kaori Aoyama ¥10.34M
7. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥7.70M
8. Chie Arimura ¥7.64M
9. Sakura Yokomine ¥7.52M
10. Shinobu Moromizato ¥7.51M
11. Mie Nakata ¥7.30M
12. Hiroko Ayada ¥7.17M
13. Ji-Hee Lee ¥7.09M
14. Yuko Mitsuka ¥6.16M
15. Hiromi Takesue ¥6.14M
16. Young Kim ¥5.43M
17. Yukari Baba ¥5.13M
18. Ji-Yai Shin ¥4.93M
19. Chieko Amanuma ¥4.72M
20. Yuri Fudoh ¥4.56M
21. Bo-Bae Song ¥4.54M
22. Akane Iijima ¥4.04M
23. Ayako Uehara ¥3.75M
24. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥3.39M
25. Orie Fujino ¥3.28M
26. Nikki Campbell ¥3.13M
27. So-Hee Kim ¥3.12M
28. Hiromi Mogi ¥3.12M
29. Miki Saiki ¥3.09M
30. Esther Lee ¥2.72M

Ai Miyazato (¥2.40M) has fallen to #36 on the list, but expect her and Momoko Ueda (¥1.36M, #50) to start moving up it when they return to the JLPGA for the run-up to the Salonpas Cup, the tour's 1st major, the 1st week of May. Next up is the Studio Alice Ladies Open, and they're both entered, along with Seon Hwa Lee, Inbee Park, Young Kim, Teresa Lu, and Na-Ri Kim.]

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