Mayu Hattori picked up where she left off at the Fujisankei Ladies Classic, making 3 birdies in her 1st 5 holes today after a late eagle yesterday and joining 1st-round leader Bo-Bae Song at -8 by the end of the day. For her part, Song, too, started fast, matching Hatori's 33 on the front, but stalled out on the back. Nikki Campbell, by contrast, caught on fire and ended up with a 33 on the back despite bogeying her final two holes to fall 3 behind the co-leaders. With both Chie Arimura and Inbee Park falling off the pace in a big way, and Shinobu Moromizato, Sakura Tokomine, and Ji-Yai Shin seemingly too far back to seriously threaten the leaders, tomorrow could well turn out to be a shootout between Song and Hattori.
Here's how the top 10 and notables look as they head into the final round:
T1/-8 Mayu Hattori (68-68), Bo-Bae Song (67-69)
3rd/-5 Nikki Campbell (70-69)
T4/-4 Midori Yoneyama (71-69), Yuko Mitsuka (70-70), Hiromi Mogi (70-70), Asako Fujimoto (70-70)
T8/-2 Ayako Uehara (73-69), Yun-Joo Jeong (72-70), Akane Iijima (72-70), Shinobu Moromizato (71-71), Na-Ri Kim (70-72), Chie Arimura (69-73)
T14/-1 Ji-Yai Shin (71-72), Sakura Yokomine (71-72), Mi-Jeong Jeon (71-72)
T19/E Young Kim (75-69), Yuki Ichinose (72-72), Inbee Park (69-75)
T26/+1 Kaori Aoyama (75-70), Rui Kitada (71-74)
T31/+2 Tamie Durdin (75-71), So-Hee Kim (75-71)), Li-Ying Ye (74-72), Esther Lee (71-75)
T38/+3 Mie Nakata (76-71), Miki Saiki (76-71), Maiko Wakabayashi (76-71), Miho Koga (74-73), Yuri Fudoh (72-75), Yukari Baba (72-75)
T46/+4 Seon Hwa Lee (77-71), Rikako Morita (75-73), Ritsuko Ryu (74-74), Jae-Hee Bae (72-76)
MC: Mika Miyazato, Na-Ri Lee, Erina Hara
WD: Ah-Reum Hwang
It'll be interesting to see how the final round plays out. Hattori's gotten off to a very slow start this season and hasn't been putting well at all, while Song has been among the best putters on tour in 2010. This is the 1st time either have gone low all season, however, so the chances of someone making a run at them or of them coming back to the field are pretty decent.
At the bottom of the cut-line survivors, Miki Saiki rebounded from a double earlier on the back with an eagle on the same short par 5 that Hattori eagled yesterday to fight back to +3 overall and extend her made-cut streak this season to 7 events. Nice to see Seon Hwa Lee making the cut, but disappointing that a late bogey dropped Mika Miyazato on the wrong side of the cut line. With Tamie Durdin and Young Kim merely hanging in there this week thus far, it goes to show tha LPGA membership is no guarantee of JLPGA success. Here's hoping Na-Ri Kim makes a run at the top of the leaderboard tomorrow!