The LPGA's Inbee Park has jumped out to an early lead in the JLPGA's Studio Alice Ladies Open. After shooting a blistering bogey-free 32 on the front, she holds a 2-shot lead on Chie Arimura, who's coming off a top 10 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship last week, Esther Lee, who's engineering a comeback as impressive in its own way as Park's recovery from the U.S. Women Open's jinx, and the JLPGA's #2 career money-winner Akiko Fukushima, who's also making a comeback from some seriously bad play of late. KLPGA star and leading money-winner on the JLPGA this season Sun-Ju Ahn sits 3 back as she enters the back 9, while the JLPGA's Bo-Bae Song and LPGA's Young Kim are in the group 4 back thus far.
Some of the biggest names in Japan are off to tougher starts, though. Ai Miyazato, Sakura Yokomine, and last week's winner Miho Koga are all +2 as they enter the back, while Shinobu Moromizato is +3 through 10, Momoko Ueda opened with a birdieless 41, and Ji-Hee Lee is +5 through 11. Chalk it up to jet lag for most of them, I suppose, just like for Seon Hwa Lee, who opened with a 77 and has yet to break 75 on the JLPGA this season.
I'll be back with the complete results later this morning.
[Update 1 (8:46 pm): Ah, the best-laid plans.... Suffice to say that Park stayed at -4, Ai-sama climbed back to +1, and most everyone else struggled in a big way down the stretch. As round 2 is underway, I'll give everyone's results in tomorrow's post!]
[Update 2 (8:51 pm): While you wait, check out Happy Fan's take on Bo Mi Lee's victory this week on the KLPGA.]