Sunday, June 6, 2010

Resort Trust Ladies Sunday: And the Winner Is.... Yoshimi Koda?!

27-year-old Yoshimi Koda graduated from the JLPGA's Step-Up Tour last year and proceeded to make a single cut in 7 tries on the big tour. But she finished 17th in Q-School to secure her card for this season, where she proceeded to miss 9 of her 1st 12 cuts. So even though she was 1 of only 5 players to break 70 in both of the 1st 2 rounds at the Resort Trust Ladies, I expected her to fade back into the pack today. After all, she'd only broken 70 once before this season and gone under par 2 other times. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she fired a 66 today that included 4 birdies in her last 5 holes to secure a 3-shot victory over Hiromi Takesue.

In fact, Koda's chief competition for most of the day was 5-time winner Rui Kitada, who started the day 1 shot behind 2nd-round leader Ritsuko Ryu. The 22-year-old Ryu birdied her 1st hole to get to -10, but was a non-factor after a bogey on the very next hole and a run of 11 straight pars. By then, the 28-year-old Kitada had rattled off 5 birdies against 2 bogeys to get to -10 herself. But while Sakura Yokomine, Mie Nakata, and Hiromi Takesue had joined her there early on the back, only Kitada and Koda finished strong. Yokomine doubled the 379-yard par-4 13th to drop out of contention. Takesue could manage only 1 birdie the rest of the way, while Nakata offset a birdie on the par-5 15th with a bogey on the short par-4 17th. For awhile, it looked like Koda would join them. After playing her 1st 11 holes bogey-free and climbing to -12 on the strength of 4 birdies, she bogeyed the 12th and 13th. But when Kitada, playing in the group ahead of her, rattled off 3 straight birdies to get to -13, Koda responded with a pair of birdies of her own on the 14th and 15th to stay within 1 of the lead. Then she finished in style after Kitada doubled the 172-yard par-3 16th, going par-birdie-birdie to secure her 1st JLPGA victory in only her 5th career made cut.

Here's how the top 10 and notables ended up:

1st/-14 Yoshimi Koda (67-69-66)
2nd/-11 Hiromi Takesue (67-69-69)
T3/-10 Mie Nakata (70-67-69), Rui Kitada (68-69-69), Bo-Bae Song (70-66-70), Ritsuko Ryu (68-67-71)
T7/-9 Sakura Yokomine (72-66-69), Chie Arimura (65-73-69)
T9/-8 Na-Ri Lee (67-72-69), Yayoi Arasaki (69-69-70)

T11/-7 Shinobu Moromizato (72-69-68), Miho Koga (70-70-69)
T15/-6 Hiromi Mogi (72-67-71), Mayu Hattori (71-65-74)
T17/-5 Hyun-Ju Shin (71-70-70), Na-Ri Kim (69-72-70)
T20/-4 Maiko Wakabayashi (73-71-68), Nikki Campbell (72-71-69), Chieko Amanuma (72-71-69), Asako Fujimoto (69-72-71)
T26/-3 Young Kim (69-75-69), Ah-Reum Hwang (71-73-69), Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-70-71), Sun-Ju Ahn (70-72-71), Miki Saiki (67-74-72)
T33/-2 Saiki Fujita (74-69-71)
T35/-1 Esther Lee (72-72-71), Akane Iijima (72-71-72)
T40/E So-Hee Kim (73-71), Ji-Woo Lee (70-73-73), Li-Ying Ye (75-68-73)
T46/+1 Yuki Ichinose (71-73-73)
T51/+6 Erina Hara (67-73-82)

[Update 1 (10:02 am): Here's the new money list:

1. Sakura Yokomine ¥43.33M
2. Inbee Park ¥36.50M
3. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥32.10M
4. Chie Arimura ¥31.89M
5. Rui Kitada ¥30.69M
6. Miho Koga ¥29.24M
7. Yuri Fudoh ¥26.50M
8. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥26.13M
9. Ji-Yai Shin ¥25.76M
10. Mayu Hattori ¥23.68M
11. Mie Nakata ¥22.33M
12. Yun-Jye Wei ¥19.24M
13. Asako Fujimoto ¥17.76M
14. Shinobu Moromizato ¥17.21M
15. Nikki Campbell ¥17.09M
16. Bo-Bae Song ¥16.83M
17. Hiromi Mogi ¥16.80M
18. Hiromi Takesue ¥16.08M
19. Ayako Uehara ¥15.58M
20. Young Kim ¥14.83M
21. Akane Iijima ¥14.21M
22. Yoshimi Koda ¥14.12M
23. Saiki Fujita ¥13.35M
24. Yukari Baba ¥13.27M
25. Ji-Hee Lee ¥12.99M
26. Kaori Aoyama ¥12.59M
27. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥12.55M
28. Na-Ri Kim ¥12.29M
29. Chieko Amanuma ¥11.53M
30. Esther Lee ¥11.22M

How many places in the Rolex Rankings do you think Koda will move up from her 360th position?]

[Update 2 (6/7/10, 2:16 pm): Wow, all the way up to #102 in the world--a leap of 258 positions!]

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