Only 4 players broke 70 in the 1st round of the Hisako Higuchi IDC Otsuka Kagu Ladies today, with Nikki Campbell and Mayu Hattori taking a 1-shot lead over Akane Iijima and Hiromi Mogi. Sakura Yokomine and Mi-Jeong Jeon, hoping to take advantage of money-list leader Sun-Ju Ahn's taking a week off to prepare for the Mizuno Classic, are only 3 shots off the pace heading into the 2nd round, while Chie Arimura and Yukari Baba are another shot back.
Here's how the leaders and notables did today:
T1/-4 Nikki Campbell, Mayu Hattori (68)
T3/-3 Akane Iijima, Hiromi Mogi (68)
T5/-2 Na-Ri Kim, Asako Fujimoto, Kaori Aoyama, Tamie Durdin, Ritsuko Ryu, Ikue Asama, Mikiyo Nishizuka, Yoko Inoue (70)
T13/-1 Sakura Yokomine, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Shiho Oyama, Ayako Uehara, Mie Nakata, Miki Saiki, Eun-A Lim, Rikako Morita, Na-Ri Lee, Yuki Ichinose (71)
T27/E Chie Arimura, Yukari Baba, Hyun-Ju Shin, Yun-Jye Wei, Jae-Hee Bae (72)
T40/+1 Shinobu Moromizato, Ji-Woo Lee, Maiko Wakabayashi, Miho Mori [a] (73)
T51/+2 Li-Ying Ye, So-Hee Kim, Erina Hara, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Serena Aoki [a], Harukyo Nomura [a] (74)
T64/+3 Akiko Fukushima, Yuko Mitsuka, Rui Kitada, Hiromi Takesue, Chieko Amanuma (75)
T90/+6 Esther Lee (78)
T95/+8 Ai-Yu Tu (80)
Nice starts by Durdin and Oyama, although both let a lot of shots slip away. Durdin opened with a bogey-free 32 and closed with a birdie-less 38, while Oyama made a double and 2 bogeys to nearly offset her 5 birdies. If they want to keep their cards for 2011, they'd better minimize their mistakes the next 2 rounds. This is probably their best chance to get top 5s before the fields get a lot stronger on the JLPGA. Hyun-Ju Shin's another player who cancelled out her 5 birdies today; she opened with a pair of them, then made 2 doubles in a row midway through her round, then bounced back with 3 birdies in a row near the end of her round. I'd love to see her make a run this week, but mistakes like those are what's keeping her from becoming the top 10 player she was for the 1st 4 years of her JLPGA career. Oh, and let's see if veteran Nishizuka can capitalize on today's hole-in-one. She's been having the worst season of her long career and is in desperate need of a great finish to hope to avoid Q-School.
Just to underscore the importance of avoiding trouble, I'll close by noting that the co-leaders each made the same number of birdies as Oyama, but limited their mistakes to 1 bogey each. Meanwhile, Yokomine made like Durdin and went 33-37 and Jeon needed 3 late birdies to salvage her 71. Let's see how they all handle the pressure on the weekend!