Moving day at the Daio Paper ElleAir Ladies had a definite "go low or go home" vibe today. Mi-Jeong Jeon set the pace with a bogey-free 65 and Tamie Durdin with a bogey-free 66, but there were a host of 67s and 68s. When the dust had settled Durdin and Yukari Baba shared a slim 1-shot lead on Ayako Uehara and were only 2-up on Jeon, 3-up on Na-Ri Kim, and 4-up on Ji-Hee Lee and Rui Kitada. Money-list leaders Sun-Ju Ahn and Sakura Yokomine couldn't keep pace with the leaders and find themselves 7 and 6 shots back, respectively, but Chie Arimura joined the 15 golfers within 5 shots of the lead with her 68.
Here's where the leaders and notables stand heading into the final round:
T1/-10 Tamie Durdin (68-66), Yukari Baba (67-67)
3rd/-9 Ayako Uehara (68-67)
4th/-8 Mi-Jeong Jeon (71-65)
5th/-7 Na-Ri Kim (69-68)
T6/-6 Ji-Hee Lee (71-67), Rui Kitada (67-71)
T8/-5 Mayu Hattori (72-67), Chie Arimura (71-68), Bo-Bae Song (70-69), Ah-Reum Hwang (70-69), Yumiko Yoshida (70-69), Mihoko Iseri (70-69), Shinobu Moromizato (68-71), Yui Kawahara (66-73)
T16/-4 Miki Saiki (72-68), Akane Iijima (72-68), Sakura Yokomine (70-70), Akiko Fukushima (67-73)
T20/-3 Yun-Jye Wei (73-68), Rikako Morita (73-68), Hiromi Takesue (72-69), Sun-Ju Ahn (70-71)
T24/-2 Maiko Wakabayashi (74-68), Onnarin Sattayabanphot (74-68), Asako Fujimoto (73-69), Hyun-Ju Shin (71-71), Erina Hara (71-71), Teresa Lu (70-72), Na-Ri Lee (70-72), Kaori Aoyama (70-72), Young Kim (69-73)
T35/-1 Chieko Amanuma (75-68), Saiki Fujita (73-70), Yuki Ichinose (73-70), Shiho Oyama (72-71), Jae-Hee Bae (70-73)
T46/E Nikki Campbell (76-68), Beatriz Recari (72-72), Ritsuko Ryu (72-72), Hiromi Mogi (70-74)
MC: Harukyo Nomura [a] (73-72), So-Hee Kim (76-70), Mie Nakata (75-71), Esther Lee (75-71), Miho Mori [a] (75-71), Eun-A Lim (73-73), Inbee Park (74-74), Ji-Woo Lee (73-75), Yuko Mitsuka (78-73), Haruka Morita [a] (77-74), Li-Ying Ye (76-76), Momoko Ueda (77-78)
If the 73s by Yui Kawahara, Akiko Fukushima, and Young Kim were not enough to show how costly little mistakes can be, how about the big ones made by LPGAers Inbee Park and Momoko Ueda? Both missed their 2nd cuts of the season on the JLPGA, both because of birdie droughts (Park made only 3 birdies in 36 holes and Ueda 4), but whereas Ueda put herself behind the 8-ball early with a 9 on the par-3 3rd hole yesterday, Park simply never got anything going.
Enough about those playing badly. Let's see if Durdin can play her way into the season-ending major, the Ricoh Cup, whether Baba can cap off her career season with a win, whether Uehara can make it 3 years in a row with a JLPGA victory, whether Jeon can get her 4th win of the season and 17th of her career, whether Kim can snag her 1st career JLPGA victory, whether Lee can make a Sunday charge for her 2nd win of the season and 14th of her JLPGA career, whether Kitada will instead be getting her 2nd win of the season (and 7th of her career), or whether someone will make a charge from 5 or more shots back. A great Sunday by Ahn can clinch her the money-list title and put her in position to join the JLPGA's greats in single-season winnings. And even a so-so Sunday by Yokomine could end her hopes for making it 2 money-list titles in a row.
Lots at stake tomorrow. Stay tuned!
[Update 1 (10:21 am): Just noticed bangkokbobby's post, complete with great photos, is up.]
[Update 2 (10:38 am): This event also decides who will need to go to the 3rd-stage of Q-School to retain their 2011 JLPGA cards--only the top 50 on the money list are in for next season for sure. With #51 Ikue Asama, #53 Yeo-Jin Kang, #57 So-Hee Kim, #59 Chiharu Tsunekawa, and #60 Mika Takushima also missing the cut, and #54 Orie Fujino, #55 Yuko Saitoh, and #56 Jae-Hee Bae well off the pace, #50 Mitsuka can breathe a little sigh of relief--but only a little one, as #52 Yumiko Yoshida can pass her with (I believe) a top-3 finish tomorrow, and #58 Teresa Lu and #61 Shiho Oyama might be able to snag a runner-up finish and knock her out, as well. This could be down to the wire!]