Sunday, May 2, 2010

CyberAgent Ladies Sunday: Shin Wins! Shin Wins! Shin Wins!

Ji-Yai Shin showed once again why she's known as the "Final Round Queen" in Asia, as she stormed back from a 4-shot deficit after 36 holes to a 2-shot win over Miho Koga and Akane Iijima via a sizzling 66 in the CyberAgent Ladies today. With her victory, Shin stands to supplant Lorena Ochoa as the world #1. It all depends on how Lorena plays in her last round as an LPGA regular later today in Morelia!

[Update 1 (5:45 am): So here's how Shin won. A bogey-free 70 yesterday brought her within 4 shots of Chie Arimura, 3 of Mi-Jeong Jeon, 2 of Miho Koga, and 1 of Sakura Yokomine. Pass 4 of the best golfers on the JLPGA on Sunday? No problem! An opening 33 made up 2 shots on Arimura and Koga, put Shin past Jeon and Yokomine by 2, and kept her 1 shot ahead of playing partner Akane Iijima, who had started the day tied with Shin. But Iijima quickly passed Shin and Koga when she followed up her birdie on the 9th with 2 more on the 10th and 11th to tie Arimura for the lead at -6. Arimura, who had bogeyed the 9th, bounced back with a birdie on the 512-yard par-5 12th, opening up a 2-shot lead on Iijima, who had bogeyed it, and a 3-shot lead on Shin and Koga. That's when things got interesting. First Shin made back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th to get to -7 and Iijima birdied the 14th to get to -6. Then Arimura doubled the 14th when she got to it to fall back to -5. Koga got to -6 when she birdied the 145-yard par-3 15th. And Iijima joined Shin at -7 when she birdied the 385-yard par-4 16th. When Shin birdied the short par 5 17th in response, she was 1-up on Iijima and 2-up on Koga. Arimura's implosion continued with bogeys on 16 and 17, but a Shin par and an Iijima bogey on the long par 4 18th meant that only Koga could catch Shin, and she needed an eagle to do it. When she could only manage a par, Shin's closing 33 had given her her 4th career JLPGA victory (including her non-member win in '08 that gave her membership on the tour in the 1st place.)]

[Update 2 (6:12 am): Here's how the top 10 and notables made out:

1st/-8 Ji-Yai Shin (72-70-66)
T2/-6 Akane Iijima (72-70-68), Miho Koga (71-69-70)
4th/-5 Mi-Jeong Jeon (70-69-72)
T5/-4 Saiki Fujita (75-69-68), Chie Arimura (69-69-74)
T7/-3 Hiromi Mogi (72-70-71), Sakura Yokomine (75-66-72)
T9/-2 Sun-Ju Ahn (74-70-70), Tamie Durdin (71-70-73)

11th/-1 Ji-Hee Lee (75-69-71)
T12/E Nikki Campbell (75-75-66)
T15/+1 Maiko Wakabayashi (76-71-70), Asako Fujimoto (72-75-70), Shinobu Moromizato (75-71-71), Miki Saiki (72-71-74)
T20/+2 Mayu Hattori (77-71-70), Ayako Uehara (73-73-72), Young Kim (74-71-73), Ah-Reum Hwang (71-73-74), Momoko Ueda (71-72-75)
27th/+3 Yuko Mitsuka (76-73-70)
T28/+4 Seon Hwa Lee (76-73-71), Kumiko Kaneda (76-70-74)
T32/+5 Esther Lee (76-73-72), Ji-Woo Lee (76-72-73), Mie Nakata (73-74-74), Na-Ri Kim (71-75)
T36/+6 Hyun-Ju Shin (76-72-74), Rikako Morita (74-71-77)
T39/+7 Rui Kitada (76-74-73), Akiko Fukushima (75-73-75)
T44/+8 Yukari Baba (76-72-76)
T52/+10 Bo-Bae Song (74-76-76)

MC: Eun-A Lim, Kaori Aoyama, Sakurako Mori, Na-Ri Lee, Yuki Sakurai, Ritsuko Ryu, Riko Higashio, Erina Hara, Yuki Ichinose

Nice comeback by Jeon to get back into the top 10 after a terrible start, but disappointing finishes for Yokomine and Ueda. Ahn bounced back from her worst result on the JLPGA last week for another top 10, while Young Kim and Seon Hwa Lee just can't seem to get it going thus far in Japan.]

[Update 3 (6:32 am): Even with disappointing starts by many Koreans on the JLPGA this season (particularly by Mi-Jeong Jeon and Ji-Hee Lee, along with Seon Hwa Lee), they still hold the 3 top spots on the money list thus far this season.

1. Inbee Park ¥35.06M
2. Sun Ju Ahn ¥27.02M
3. Ji-Yai Shin ¥25.76M
4. Chie Arimura ¥24.97M
5. Miho Koga ¥23.54M
6. Rui Kitada ¥20.91M
7. Yun-Jye Wei ¥17.22M
8. Mayu Hattori ¥17.14M
9. Asako Fujimoto ¥14.06M
10. Sakura Yokomine ¥12.21M
11. Hiromi Mogi ¥11.49M
12. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥11.25M
13. Akane Iijima ¥11.22M
14. Kaori Aoyama ¥11.16M
15. Chieko Amanuma ¥10.88M
16. Nikki Campbell ¥10.73M
17. Bo-Bae Song ¥10.69M
18. Mie Nakata ¥10.32M
19. Shinobu Moromizato ¥9.88M
20. Ji-Hee Lee ¥9.07M
21. Yuko Mitsuka ¥8.95M
22. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥8.71M
23. Young Kim ¥8.69M
24. Hiroko Ayada ¥8.67M
25. Yukari Baba ¥8.38M
26. Yuri Fudoh ¥7.94M
27. Ayako Uehara ¥7.47M
28. Saiki Fujita ¥7.22M
29. Hiromi Takesue ¥6.55M
30. Momoko Ueda ¥6.46M

Ai Miyazato (¥5.40M) has fallen to #33, right behind Miki Saiki, 10 spots ahead of Na-Ri Kim, and 17-up on Seon Hwa Lee. Let's see if Ai-sama can win on the LPGA this week, and if so, whether her win or Shin's will crown the next #1!]

[UPdate 4 (6:40 am): Looking ahead to next week's Salonpas Cup, the JLPGA's 1st major, it's clear now why Ya Ni Tseng and Sophie Gustafson are sitting out Tres Marias. They may already be in Japan! Looks to me like all the JLPGA's big names and new blood will be there, including Ai Miyazato, but not Ji-Yai Shin.]

[Update 5 (7:39 am): According to what Randall Mell found out from the LPGA, Lorena holds her destiny in her hands. If she finishes 4th or better at Morelia, she ends her term as an LPGA regular as the world #1. With Shin sitting out the Salonpas Cup and Miyazato playing in it, we could go from Lorena being #1 this week to Shin being #1 next to Miyazato being #1 the following week!]

[Update 6 (7:56 am): Yeesh, Jeff Skinner is focusing on the symbolism of a Wie win and rooting for her, Lincicome, or Lewis. Never mind that if Lorena plays badly today, Shin will be the actual #1.]

[Update 7 (6:16 pm): Ah, nice birthday party for imoto--and nice birthday present from Ai-sama! And Brent Kelley's list of #1 contenders is right on....]

[Update 8 (5/3/10, 12:09 am): Jeff Skinner manages not to mention Ji-Yai Shin's taking over the #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings when he calls the LPGA the Ai Miyazato Tour. Not that I disagree, but....]

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