Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nishijin Ladies Classic Sunday: Yuri Fudoh Gets JLPGA Win #49 in Playoff

While Ryo Ishikawa was turning a 1-shot deficit after 3 rounds of the Token Homemate Cup into a 3-shot loss and 3rd-place finish in his first JGTO event of 2011, Yuri Fudoh, the JLPGA's living legend and only Billion Yen Woman in its history, was losing an early 3-shot lead in the Nishijin Ladies Classic and fighting back to join and win a 3-way playoff with a birdie on the 1st extra hole that dispatched Ji-Woo Lee and Yukari Baba. Her 3rd win in Kumamoto and 49th of her career was quite the roller coaster: 1st, she fired off 3 birdies in her 1st 5 holes and got to -8, then she lost it with a bogey-par-bogey-double bogey run as she made the turn to fall to -4, and finally, as competitors were making runs at her--last year's JLPGA money-list title-holder Sun-Ju Ahn birdied 4 of her last 6 holes to fall 1 shot shy of the playoff when she failed to birdie the short par-5 18th, Yukari Baba played her last 14 holes bogey-free and birdied 3 of her last 6 holes, the last one on the final hole of regulation, to get into the playoff, and 1st-round leader and 2nd-round co-leader Ji-Woo Lee avoided making a bogey in her last 12 holes and birdied the par-4 17th to enter the playoff--Fudoh bounced back with birdies on the par-5 11th and par-3 16th to offset her bogey on the par-4 14th and fight back to -5, which got her into the playoff, as well.

For all the action at the top of the leaderboard, few players close to the lead after 36 holes were able to join in the fun. Yes, Shinobu Moromizato was right in the mix until she bogeyed the 17th to close with a disappointing 37 and finish 1 shot out of the playoff, spoiling her best chance for her 1st win since 2009. And it was a bogey on the 14th that did in Ji-Hee Lee's chances to enter the playoff. But at least they were in the arena. Chie Arimura, one of the hottest players in the world of women's golf, was utterly cold today, making 17 pars and 1 bogey to end the tournament at -3. Ji-Yai Shin, the Final Round Queen, opened with a 40 on the front to fall from -3 to +1, where she stayed. Inbee Park, playing in a title defense and looking for her 3rd straight win on the JLPGA dating back to the end of last season, could manage only an anemic 71 to also end the tournament 6 shots off the pace. And 2009 money-list title-holder and #2 golfer on the JLPGA in 2010 Sakura Yokomine needed a birdie on the 17th to salvage a 75 and a top-25 finish. (Let's not even talk about Yuko Mitsuka and Teresa Lu.) It was up to Mi-Jeong Jeon, Na-Ri Kim, and Hee Young Park to make charges from back in the pack, but despite shooting a bogey-free 68, Jeon couldn't made another birdie after she got to -2 with her 4th in her 1st 8 holes, Kim needed 3 birdies in her last 5 holes just to post her 69 and fight back to E for the week, and Park's bogey-free 69 was too little, far too late after barely making the cut following an opening 79 from last year's JLPGA Q-School medallist. In the end, it was up to the JLPGA's money-list title-holder from 2000 through 2005 to show the youngsters how to finish a tournament.

1st/-5 Yuri Fudoh (70-69-72) [won in playoff]
T2/-5 Yukari Baba (68-72-71), Ji-Woo Lee (66-73-72)
T4/-4 Sun-Ju Ahn (70-72-70), Ji-Hee Lee (68-73-71), Shinobu Moromizato (74-66-72)
T7/-3 Rui Kitada (72-70-71), Chie Arimura (71-69-73)
T9/-2 Mi-Jeong Jeon (74-72-68), Asako Fujimoto (73-68-73)

T11/-1 Yeo-Jin Kang (76-66-73)
T12/E Na-Ri Kim (76-71-69), Kumiko Kaneda (74-71-71), Yuki Ichinose (73-71-72)
T15/+1 Mayu Hattori (75-71-71), Inbee Park (71-75-71), Li-Ying Ye (72-72-72), Na-Ri Lee (70-75-72), Ji-Yai Shin (71-70-76)
T20/+2 Hee Young Park (79-70-69), Hiromi Mogi (75-69-74), Maiko Wakabayashi (74-70-74)
T25/+3 Bo-Bae Song (73-73-73), Sakura Yokomine (75-69-75)
T27/+4 Akane Iijima (75-73-72), Kaori Ohe (74-73-73), Rikako Morita (75-70-75), Pei-Ying Tsai (72-73-75), Jae-Hee Bae (73-71-76)
T33/+5 Kaori Aoyama (76-71-74)
T35/+6 Shiho Oyama (78-71-73), Teresa Lu (71-75-76), Yuko Mitsuka (73-71-78)
41st/+8 Saiki Fujita (75-73-76)
T42/+9 So-Hee Kim (74-73-78), Mie Nakata (73-74-78)
T46/+10 Mika Takushima (74-73-79)

With so many players who did well in Okinawa to kick off the season either skipping or missing the cut in Kumamoto, the JLPGA money list is pretty bunched:

1. Inbee Park ¥15.31M
2. Yuri Fudoh ¥13.88M
3. Miki Saiki ¥7.04M
4. Ji-Woo Lee ¥6.32M
5. Yukari Baba ¥6.15M
6. Bo-Bae Song ¥5.82M
7. Bo-Mee Lee ¥5.20M
8. Ji-Yai Shin ¥4.51M
9. Rikako Morita ¥4.17M
10. Ji-Hee Lee ¥3.89M
11. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥3.86M
12. Shinobu Moromizato ¥3.83M
13. Kumiko Kaneda ¥3.59M
14. Chie Arimura ¥2.90M
15. Akiko Fukushima, Momoko Ueda ¥2.40M
17. Rui Kitada ¥2.28M
18. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥2.26M
19. Asako Fujimoto ¥2.10M
20. Hiromi Mogi, Lala Anai ¥1.95M
22. Sakura Yokomine ¥1.90M
23. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥1.86M
24. Akane Iijima ¥1.85M
25. Saiki Fujita ¥1.68M
26. Mie Nakata ¥1.65M
27. Yuki Ichinose ¥1.55M
28. Na-Ri Kim ¥1.52M
29. Na-Ri Lee ¥1.44M
30. Junko Omote ¥1.36M

Let's see how LPGAers (or ex-LPGAers) Inbee Park, Momoko Ueda, Hee Young Park, Shanshan Feng, Shiho Oyama, Young Kim, Meena Lee, Soo-Yun Kang, Na-Ri Kim, and Onnarin Sattyabnphot do in the 30th playing of the Fujisankei Ladies Classic next week!

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