Saiki Fujita and Sun-Ju Ahn were paired together with a 20-year-old amateur in the 1st round of the Daikin Orchid Ladies and put on a show for her, with 4-time JLPGA winner Fujita opening 2011 with a bogey-free 32 on the front and ending up with a 2-shot lead on fellow 4-time winner Ahn, who needed back-to-back birdies at the end of the day to post a 69. The only other player in the field to break 70 was Nikki Campbell, who placed 2nd on the ALPG Order of Merit earlier this winter and made 6 birdies on her way to her 69. On a day when only 6 other golfers went under par--including world #2 Ji-Yai Shin--and 12-year-old Hina Arakaki shot an 84, Tamie Durdin an 82, Hyun-Ju Shin and Yuko Mitsuko 78s, Akane Iijima a 77, Ai Miyazato a 76, and Mika Miyazato, Shanshan Feng, Teresa Lu, and Miki Saiki 75s, the play of Fujita, who's coming off her best-ever season on the JLPGA, is even more impressive.
But check out who's lurking among the leaders and notables:
1st/-5 Saiki Fujita (67)
T2/-3 Sun-Ju Ahn, Nikki Campbell (69)
4th/-2 Lala Anai (70)
T5/-1 Ji-Yai Shin, Yukari Baba, Momoko Ueda, Bo-Mee Lee, Mika Takushima (70)
T10/E Yuri Fudoh, Sakura Yokomine, Chie Arimura, Inbee Park, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Hee Young Park, He Yong Choi, Shiho Oyama, Shinobu Moromizato, Ayako Uehara, Hiromi Mogi, Bo-Bae Song, Na-Ri Lee, Kumiko Kaneda, Ah-Reum Hwang (72)
T25/+1 Ji-Hee Lee, Rikako Morita, Maiko Wakabayashi, Soo-Yun Kang, Ji-Woo Lee, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Li-Ying Ye, Miki Uehara (73)
T37/+2 Akiko Fukushima, Meena Lee, Young Kim, Mie Nakata, Yun-Jye Wei, Yuki Ichinose, Ji-Na Lim (74)
T49/+3 Mika Miyazato, Shanshan Feng, Teresa Lu, Na-Ri Kim, Asako Fujimoto, So-Hee Kim (75)
T63/+4 Ai Miyazato, Mayu Hattori, Rui Kitada, Erina Hara, Jae-Hee Bae (76)
T73/+5 Akane Iijima, Eun-A Lim (77)
T80/+6 Hyun-Ju Shin, Yuko Mitsuka, Hiromi Takesue, Esther Lee, Chieko Amanuma (78)
T90/+7 Ai-Yu Tu, Ritsuko Ryu, Julie Lu, Riko Higashio (79)
T99/+9 Sakurako Mori, Kaori Ohe (81)
T102/+10 Tamie Durdin (82)
Ai-sama got off to a disastrous start (a birdie-less 41 on the front) but stabilized the ship on the back, while Mikan fell apart after a solid start with a birdie-less 40 on the back. Meanwhile, Momo-chan eagled the 18th to get under par for the 1st time that day, Feng was +6 after 13 holes of birdie-free golf but rattled off 3 birdies in a row and birdied the 18th after posting her 7th bogey of her round on the 17th, and the 12-year-old Okinawan amateur made only 4 pars all day, sandwiching back-to-back birdies between a 5-hole bogey train and a 4-hole bogey-train.
With 24 players--including many of the top golfers on the JLPGA--within 5 shots of the lead, moving day tomorrow should be very interesting!