It was a bad day for the JLPGA's hottest players during the 2nd round of the Ito-En Ladies, as Sakura Yokomine went +2 over her final 12 holes of birdie-less golf to stumble to a 73, Sun-Ju Ahn needed a walkoff birdie to salvage a 73 of her own after triple-bogeying the par-4 11th, Inbee Park needed birdies in 2 of her last 4 holes to salvage a 75 after tripling the par-5 5th and doubling the par-4 10th, and Chie Arimura barely made the cut. With the likes of Akane Iijima, Nikki Campbell, and Yuko Mitsuka missing the cut, Yuri Fudoh, Momoko Ueda, and Ji-Hee Lee unable to get anything going, and big mistakes by others in the hunt (a triple on the par-4 9th by Yoko Inoue, a double on the par-3 17th and a bogey on the par-4 18th by Shiho Oyama, and a late bogey by Bo-Bae Song), there's a great opportunity for some of the lesser-known JLPGAers to step up tomorrow.
Leading the way for the 2nd-straight day is Miki Saiki, who made 3 birdies in her last 14 holes of bogey-free golf to take a 1-shot lead on the charging Na-Ri Lee, who birdied 4 of her last 6 holes to pull within a shot of the lead. Mie Nakata's had a so-so season so far in terms of results (her scoring average is actually the lowest of her career!), but she made 4 birdies in her last 7 holes to reach solo 3rd at 3 back. Will 1 of these 3 players step up tomorrow and take control of the tournament, or will they open the door to the other 8 players within 5 shots of the lead?
Here's where the leaders and notables stand heading into the final round:
1st/-7 Miki Saiki (67-70)
2nd/-6 Na-Ri Lee (70-68)
3rd/-4 Mie Nakata (71-69)
T4/-3 Bo-Bae Song (72-69), Yoko Inoue (72-69), Sakura Yokomine (68-73)
T7/-2 Shiho Oyama (74-68), Ayako Uehara (74-68), Hiromi Takesue (74-68), Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-70), Hiromi Mogi (71-71)
T12/-1 Erina Hara (73-70)
T15/E Sun-Ju Ahn (71-73), Mayu Hattori (71-73), Na-Ri Kim (70-74)
T19/+1 Eun-A Lim (73-72), Kaori Aoyama (72-73), Yuki Ichinose (73-72), Asako Fujimoto (72-73), Inbee Park (70-75)
T28/+2 Saiki Fujita (76-70), Maiko Wakabayashi (76-70), Yukari Baba (74-72), Yuri Fudoh (73-73), Teresa Lu (73-73), Hyun-Ju Shin (72-74)
T36/+3 Ji-Hee Lee (75-72), Rui Kitada (74-73), Tamie Durdin (74-73), So-Hee Kim (74-73), Momoko Ueda (73-74), Chieko Amanuma (72-75)
T48/+5 Chie Arimura (76-73)
MC: Esther Lee (79-71), Akane Iijima (77-73), Harukyo Nomura [a] (78-73), Yun-Jye Wei (77-74), Rikako Morita (75-76), Ji-Woo Lee (76-76), Li-Ying Ye (80-73), Jae-Hee Bae (78-75), Nikki Campbell (74-79), Ah-Reum Hwang (80-76), Yuko Mitsuka (80-78)
Nice to see Erina Hara under par again. Wonder if she or anyone else outside the top 10 has it in them to pull a Rikako Morita and break into the low 60s in the final round? I'd love to see Teresa Lu do it! She needs some great finishes in the JLPGA's home stretch just to keep her card for next season.
[Update 1 (8:25 pm): Wow, not only is bangkokbobby great in the PakPicker at Seoul Sisters.com and a stalwart on mylpga.com, but he's also a great JLPGA blogger. Check out the photos he found from the 2nd round!]