Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stanley Ladies Sunday: The Return of Sun-Ju Ahn

In her very 1st tournament as a JLPGA member and the opening event of the 2010 season, KLPGA star Sun-Ju Ahn won convincingly on Ai Miyazato's home turf. But she hasn't cracked the top 3 since--until this week at the Stanley Ladies when she beat Ji-Hee Lee on the 2nd playoff hole.

Ahn went out in 32 to get to -7, 1 shot behind 2nd-round leader Eun-A Lim. But with 1st-round leader Ji-Hee Lee firing a bogey-free 33 to join Rui Kitada and Ah-Reum Hwang lurking at -5 as they made the turn, a shootout between Ahn and Lim was not in the cards, as both stumbled out of the gates on the back 9. Lim bogeyed 4 of her 1st 5 holes on the side while Ahn bogeyed 2 of her 1st 3 (Hwang also blew up early on the back to drop out of contention). When Ahn responded with back-to-back birdies to climb back to -7 and Lee and Kitada birdied the 395-yard 15th to get to -6, the race was on. It all came down to the 18th hole, the tough 536-yard par 5 which had sabotaged many players' rounds this week. Lee, who had bogeyed it the 1st day and doubled it the 2nd, parred it today to post a bogey-free 68. Ahn bogeyed it to drop back into a tie for the lead, while Kitada's bogey left her 1 shot out of the playoff, tied for 3rd with Lim, who was -1 over her last 4 holes, and Yukari Baba who was -2 over that same stretch.

Here's the Kyodo news account of the playoff, where Ahn notched South Korea's 100th victory on the JLPGA:

Ahn made a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe of the green on the second extra hole before Lee's putt rolled past the right side of the hole at Tomei Country Club in Shizuoka Prefecture.

"It was a tight contest, so I got more nervous than in the season opener [that she won by five strokes]," Ahn said. "In my country, there has been talk of our 100th victory in Japan, so this win is special for me."

And here are the final results:

1st/-6 Sun-Ju Ahn (70-71-69) [won in playoff]
2nd/-6 Ji-Hee Lee (67-75-68)
T3/-5 Yukari Baba (72-69-70), Rui Kitada (69-71-71), Eun-A Lim (71-66-74)
T6/-3 Maiko Wakabayashi (73-72-68), Ji-Woo Lee (75-69-69), Shinobu Moromizato (71-71-71), Ah-Reum Hwang (71-68-74)
T10/-2 Akane Iijima (69-74-71), Erika Kikuchi (73-69-72), Na-Ri Lee (69-73-72)

T16/E Ayako Uehara (70-74-72)
T20/+1 Young Kim (70-76-71), Chie Arimura (73-70-74), Saiki Fujita (72-71-74), Ritsuko Ryu (69-73-75), Na-Ri Kim (70-71-76), Akiko Fukushima (69-69-79)
T27/+2 Jae-Hee Bae (74-73-71), Bo-Bae Song (73-74-71), Kaori Aoyama (71-73-74)
T32/+3 Asako Fujimoto (71-76-72), Mie Nakata (73-68-78)
T35/+4 Yuki Ichinose (70-76-74), Rikako Morita (74-69-77)
T44/+6 Hyun-Ju Shin (72-73-77)

With her 2nd win of the season, Ahn leaps to #1 on the JLPGA money list:

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥55.73M
2. Yuri Fudoh ¥47.17M
3. Sakura Yokomine ¥45.53M
4. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥44.36M
5. Rui Kitada ¥39.71M
6. Inbee Park ¥36.50M
7. Akane Iijima ¥36.21M
8. Chie Arimura ¥34.09M
9. Miho Koga ¥31.28M
10. Yukari Baba ¥30.41M
11. Mie Nakata ¥29.00M
12. Mayu Hattori ¥28.99M
13. Ji-Hee Lee ¥28.20M
14. Nikki Campbell ¥27.32M
15. Shinobu Moromizato ¥26.71M
16. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥26.36M
17. Ji-Yai Shin ¥25.76M
18. Hiromi Takesue ¥24.72M
19. Saiki Fujita ¥24.01M
20. Young Kim ¥23.62M
21. Ayako Uehara ¥23.40M
22. Ji-Woo Lee ¥23.08M
23. Hiromi Mogi ¥22.96M
24. Asako Fujimoto ¥20.99M
25. Yun-Jye Wei ¥20.76M
26. Bo-Bae Song ¥19.71M
27. Eun-A Lim ¥19.07M
28. Rikako Morita ¥17.98M
29. Chieko Amanuma ¥17.51M
30. Kaori Aoyama ¥17.07M

There sure are a lot of players bunched in the mid-20s right now! When the JLPGA returns to action after its summer vacation in mid-August, we should see a lot of the tour's irregulars trying to move back up the money list. Should be interesting!

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