Friday, April 22, 2011

Fujisankei Ladies Classic Friday: Sun-Ju Ahn Takes Her 1st Lead of 2011

The JLPGA's 2010 money-list title-holder, Sun-Ju Ahn, took her 1st lead of 2011 with a 5-birdie 68 at the 30th playing of the Fujisankei Ladies Classic. With names like Mi-Jeong Jeon 1 back, Shinobu Moromizato and Meena Lee 2 back, Bo-Bae Song, Hyun-Ju Shin, and Miki Saiki 3 back, and Inbee Park, Yukari Baba, Young Kim, Hee Young Park, and Yuko Mitsuka 4 back, Ahn's lead is by no means secure. But almost as big a story as Ahn and her lead chase pack is how badly former money-list title-holders fared today. Sakura Yokomine opened with a 6-bogey 76, Momoko Ueda had a 2-double, 5-bogey 77, and Miho Koga made fewer birdies on her way to a 2-double, 3-bogey 78. It's only the 3rd tournament of the JLPGA season, so it's way too soon to hit the panic button, but it is a trend worth noticing. Even worse, defending champion Mayu Hattori didn't make a birdie all day, closed with a double bogey, and barely broke 80!

Here's how the leaders and notables stand heading into moving day:

1st/-4 Sun-Ju Ahn (68)
T2/-3 Mi-Jeong Jeon, Yukari Nishiyama (69)
T4/-2 Shinobu Moromizato, Meena Lee, Kumiko Kaneda, Megumi Shimokawa (70)
T8/-1 Bo-Bae Song, Hyun-Ju Shin, Miki Saiki, Akane Iijima, Saiki Fujita, Maiko Wakabayashi, Megumi Kido, Yui Mukaiyama, Nachiyo Ohtani (71)

T17/E Inbee Park, Yukari Baba, Young Kim, Hee Young Park, Yuko Mitsuka (72)
T26/+1 Ji-Hee Lee, Shiho Oyama, Asako Fujimoto, Yuki Ichinose, Ritsuko Ryu, Erina Hara, Julie Lu (73)
T37/+2 Chie Arimura, Akiko Fukushima, Ayako Uehara, Na-Ri Kim, Ji-Woo Lee, Ah-Reum Hwang, Miki Sakai, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Lala Anai (74)
T52/+3 Teresa Lu, Hiromi Mogi, Esther Lee, Miho Mori [a] (75)
T62/+4 Sakura Yokomine, Mie Nakata, Rikako Morita, Eun-A Lim, So-Hee Kim, Na-Ri Lee, Jae-Hee Bae, Kaori Ohe, Miki Uehara (76)
T76/+5 Momoko Ueda, Kaori Aoyama, Hiromi Takesue (77)
T86/+6 Miho Koga, Pei-Ying Tsai, Yeo-Jin Kang, Hiroko Ayada (78)
T91/+7 Mayu Hattori, Li-Ying Ye, Mika Takushima (79)
T98/+8 Soo-Yun Kang (80)
T101/+9 Yun-Jye Wei, Tao-Li Yang (81)
T107/+12 Mai Arai (84)

It was a round of could-have-beens for several players. Jeong birdied 3 of her last 4 holes and 4 of her last 7, but a bogey on the 17th kept her from co-leader status. Park had 2 doubles and closed with 2 bogeys in a row, while Baba suffered a walkoff double, so imagine how good their 72s might have been! Oyama opened with a bogey-free 33 but stumbled home with a double and a triple on the back. 19-year-old Riho Yamaguchi went 35-45 in her 1st-ever round on the JLPGA. Let's face it, golf is cruel and the course usually wins. But let's wait and see who can avoid moving backwards tomorrow.

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