Ayako Uehara fired a bogey-free 63 today to take a 1-shot lead on Akane Iijima and Eun-A Lim into the final round of the Golf5 Ladies, but that's not even the biggest story of the weekend on the JLPGA. Shiho Oyama, who's been out due to elbow injuries she sustained last season on the LPGA, is only 2 shots off the lead after breaking 70 in each of her 1st 2 competitive rounds in many months! She's tied with Shinobu Moromizato, who's still looking for her 1st win of 2010. With the top 4 on the money list--Sun-Ju Ahn, Sakura Yokomine, Yuri Fudoh, and Mi-Jeong Jeon--sitting this one out, an Oyama-Moromizato battle tomorrow would be awesome!
Other recent returnees to the JLPGA didn't fare so well this week. Yuko Mitsuka missed the cut by a mile after opening with a 77 Friday and Sakurako Mori couldn't come much closer, but Onnarin Sattayabanphot, who like Mori has been paying her dues on the StepUp Tour, missed it by only a single shot. And Kumiko Kaneda, who's also spent some time on the StepUp Tour the last couple of months, followed up her opening 69 with a disappointing 74.
But many of the JLPGA's young guns are right in the hunt. Sure, 21-year-old Yuki Ichinose withdrew after an opening 75, 24-year-old Mika Takushima missed the cut by a single shot, and 22-year-old Ritsuko Ryu and 20-year-olds Kyung-Min Lin and Asako Fujimoto are well back in the pack. But 20-year-old Rikako Morita and 22-year-olds Mayu Hattori, Maiko Wakabayashi, and Na-Ri Lee are only 3 behind Uehara. And only 2 shots further back are 22-year-old Erika Kikuchi and 23-year-old Yumiko Yoshida. Meanwhile, 2 young LPGA-JLPGA dual members put themselves into contention with matching 67s today. Teresa Lu, who won't turn 23 until next month, is only 2 shots behind Uehara, while Na-Ri Kim, who won't turn 25 until December, pulled within 5 of the lead. Finally, 17-year-old amateur Serena Aoki has gone 70-69 to lurk 4 off the pace.
Lots of interesting things can happen tomorrow, in short. Stay tuned!