Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ito-En Ladies Sunday: Miki Saiki Goes Wire-to-Wire

Miki Saiki faced a front-9 31 from JLPGA money list leader Sun-Ju Ahn and a late charge from Hiromi Takesue in the final round of the Ito-En Ladies, but she got off to a fast start herself with 4 birdies of her own on the front to keep them at bay and played just well enough on the back to hold off Mie Nakata and Na-Ri Lee and take her 1st title since her rookie season in 2007. Lee failed to make a birdie in her last 6 holes and had to settle for 70 and 3rd place after a walkoff bogey. Nakata fired a bogey-free 67, but despite birdieing both par 5s on the back and pulling within 1 shot of the lead when Saiki bogeyed the long par-3 17th, just couldn't catch the leader on the final hole. Saiki's par secured her 2nd career victory on the JLPGA.

Here's how the leaders and notables ended up:

1st/-10 Miki Saiki (67-70-69)
2nd/-9 Mie Nakata (71-69-67)
3rd/-8 Na-Ri Lee (70-68-70)
T4/-6 Sun-Ju Ahn (71-73-66), Hiromi Takesue (74-68-68)
6th/-5 Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-70-69)
T7/-4 Shiho Oyama (74-68-70), Sakura Yokomine (68-73-71)
9th/-3 Yuki Ichinose (73-72-68)
T10/-2 Eun-A Lim (73-72-69), Bo-Bae Song (72-69-73)

T12/-1 Yukari Baba (74-72-69), Kaori Aoyama (72-73-70), Na-Ri Kim (70-74-71)
T15/E Tamie Durdin (74-73-69), Maiko Wakabayashi (76-70-70), Inbee Park (70-75-71), Mayu Hattori (71-73-72)
T22/+1 So-Hee Kim (74-73-70), Erina Hara (73-70-74)
T26/+2 Teresa Lu (73-73-72), Hyun-Ju Shin (72-74-72), Ayako Uehara (74-68-76), Hiromi Mogi (71-71-76)
T33/+4 Ji-Hee Lee (75-72-73), Momoko Ueda (73-74-73), Chieko Amanuma (72-75-73), Yuri Fudoh (73-73-74)
T38/+5 Chie Arimura (76-73-72), Rui Kitada (74-73-74)
T43/+7 Asako Fujimoto (72-73-78)
T51/+11 Saiki Fujita (76-70-81)

That great final-round charge by Ahn extended her lead over Sakura Yokomine on the JLPGA money list, while Saiki moved all the way from #15 to #6:

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥131.44M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥96.66M
3. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥84.24M
4. Yukari Baba ¥81.12M
5. Chie Arimura ¥72.72M
6. Miki Saiki ¥62.07M
7. Yuri Fudoh ¥61.75M
8. Saiki Fujita ¥61.74M
9. Akane Iijima ¥58.85M
10. Inbee Park ¥57.04M
11. Rui Kitada ¥55.26M
12. Nikki Campbell ¥53.82M
13. Ji-Hee Lee ¥50.84M
14. Young Kim ¥49.09M
15. Ji-Yai Shin ¥48.68M
16. Mie Nakata ¥45.58M
17. Mayu Hattori ¥44.11M
18. Ayako Uehara ¥41.66M
19. Eun-A Lim ¥41.57M
20. Shinobu Moromizato ¥41.55M
21. Na-Ri Kim ¥40.29M
22. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥35.82M
23. Na-Ri Lee ¥35.32M
24. Hiromi Takesue ¥34.79M
25. Miho Koga ¥34.53M
26. Hiromi Mogi ¥33.58M
27. Asako Fujimoto ¥31.87M
28. Rikako Morita ¥31.42M
29. Bo-Bae Song ¥30.68M
30. Ji-Woo Lee ¥30.60M
31. Akiko Fukushima ¥29.64M
32. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥27.10M
33. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥27.06M
34. Kaori Aoyama ¥26.92M
35. Yun-Jye Wei ¥23.48M
36. Momoko Ueda ¥21.77M
37. Junko Omote ¥21.58M
38. Tamie Durdin ¥21.50M
39. Ritsuko Ryu ¥21.47M
40. Nobuko Kizawa ¥20.77M
41. Chieko Amanuma ¥20.33M
42. Yoshimi Koda ¥19.72M
43. Yui Kawahara ¥19.53M
44. Esther Lee ¥18.64M
45. Yuki Ichinose ¥18.24M

Despite not playing and missing the cut, respectively, Ai Miyazato held steady at #46 and Yuko Mitsuka at #50, but Teresa Lu moved up to #58 and Shiho Oyama to #61. With only the Daio Paper ElleAire Ladies to go before the limited-field season-ending JLPGA-major Ricoh Cup, I'm hoping that Lu is one of the 16 sponsor exemptions into a field next week that is set to include Ji-Yai Shin, Ai Miyazato, Seon Hwa Lee, and Candie Kung in addition to fellow LPGAers Inbee Park and Momoko Ueda and former LPGAer Na-Ri Kim.

[Update 1 (9:26 am): Nice post (with photos!) on the final round from bangkokbobby!]

[Update 2 (11/17/10, 8:21 am): Plus a good overview of key JLPGA performance stats by bangkokbobby.]

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