Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meiji Chocolate Cup Sunday: The Billion-Yen Woman Is Now a 5048-Tournament Winner on the JLPGA

Yuri Fudoh may not be dominating the JLPGA like she did from 2000-2005, but she sure has a great sense of timing. With Sakura Yokomine getting her name butchered by Dan Hicks ("Secure-ah Yokomeanie"), her swing goggled over by Johnny Miller ("Dalyesque"), and her score savaged by Oakmont's greens while playing in the final group on national tv on moving day at the U.S. Women's Open--not to mention the rest of the top golfers on the JLPGA also experiencing multiple degrees of frustration in Pittsburgh--Japan's only billion-yen-winning female golfer roared into the lead yesterday at the Meiji Chocolate Cup and held onto it today for her 5048th career victory on tour. [Update (7/12/10): Thanks to Golf Channel's John Goldstein for helping me identify my mistake--instead of counting the actual JLPGA wins on her bio page, I had gone by their summary, which mentions 48 wins, without realizing that 1 was unofficial and another was from the '90s equivalent of the Step-Up Tour!]

It didn't come easy for Fudoh, as Saiki Fujita took a run at her, Yui Kawahara hung with her, and Ji-Woo Lee challenged her, but in the end the veteran was the one in the winner's circle. Fujita birdied 7 of her 1st 12 holes to streak to -10, but she couldn't get another birdie the rest of the way and was soon passed by Lee (who shot a bogey-free 32 on the front to get to -11) and Fudoh (who shot a bogey-free 33 to join her). Kawahara got to -10 with a birdie on the 354-yard par-4 13th, but by then Lee had gotten to -12 with a birdie on the 376-yard par-4 11th--and soon later Fudoh joined her with a birdie of her own on the 192-yard par-3 14th. Surprisingly, though, Fudoh blinked 1st, bogeying the very next hole, a medium-length par 4, but Lee responded with a bogey on the medium-length par 3 a couple of holes later. So heading into 18 Fudoh and Lee were tied at -11, 1 shot up on Fujita and Kawahara. But only Fudoh could birdie the medium-length par 5, and, voila, she became the 2nd repeat winner on the JLPGA of the season.

Here's how the leaders and notables did this week:

1st/-12 Yuri Fudoh (69-67-68)
2nd/-11 Ji-Woo Lee (68-69-68)
T3/-10 Saiki Fujita (71-70-65), Yui Kawahara (68-69-69)
5th/-8 Mie Nakata (71-70-67)
6th/-7 Ritsuko Ryu (70-71-68)
T7/-6 Ji-Hee Lee (71-70-69), Hiromi Mogi (69-72-69)
T9/-5 Rui Kitada (69-73-69), Ayako Uehara (71-70-70)

T11/-3 Bo-Bae Song (72-72-69), Akiko Fukushima (66-75-72)
T15/-2 Esther Lee (73-72-69), Nikki Campbell (73-71-70), Erina Hara (69-74-71), Eun-A Lim (67-74-73), Yukari Baba (68-72-74)
21st/-1 Yuki Ichinose (70-68-77)
T22/E Maiko Wakabayashi (70-73-73), Na-Ri Lee (72-70-74), Ah-Reum Hwang (69-73-74)
T28/+1 Na-Ri Kim (73-73-71), Asako Fujimoto (71-74-72), Miki Saiki (74-70-73), Mayu Hattori (71-73-73), Miho Koga (72-71-74)
T39/+3 Li-Ying Ye (72-72-75)
T46/+4 Jae-Hee Bae (73-74-73), Hyun-Ju Shin (71-75-74), Akane Iijima (72-73-75)
T52/+6 Rikako Morita (69-78-76)

With her 2nd win in her last 6 starts, Fudoh catapulted to the top of the JLPGA money list:

1. Yuri Fudoh ¥47.17M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥45.53M
3. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥44.36M
4. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥39.53M
5. Inbee Park ¥36.50M
6. Akane Iijima ¥34.49M
7. Rui Kitada ¥34.31M
8. Chie Arimura ¥33.20M
9. Miho Koga ¥31.28M
10. Mayu Hattori ¥28.99M
11. Mie Nakata ¥28.31M
12. Nikki Campbell ¥27.32M
13. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥25.87M
14. Ji-Yai Shin ¥25.76M
15. Yukari Baba ¥25.01M
16. Shinobu Moromizato ¥23.74M
17. Hiromi Takesue ¥23.49M
18. Saiki Fujita ¥23.12M
19. Hiromi Mogi ¥22.96M
20. Young Kim ¥22.73M
21. Ayako Uehara ¥22.17M
22. Yun-Jye Wei ¥20.76M
23. Asako Fujimoto ¥20.30M
24. Ji-Woo Lee ¥20.11M
25. Ji-Hee Lee ¥20.10M
26. Bo-Bae Song ¥18.94M
27. Chieko Amanuma ¥17.51M
28. Rikako Morita ¥17.38M
29. Kaori Aoyama ¥16.30M
30. Na-Ri Kim ¥14.57M

The Stanley Ladies is next week, so there's a chance for more movement while the JLPGA's elite prepare for the LPGA's European swing. Stay tuned!

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