Harukyo Nomura didn't qualify for the Sybase Match Play Championship in New Jersey this week, so she took a sponsor exemption into the Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open in Aichi instead--and took advantage of it with a bogey-free 66 to take the 1st-round lead over Tamie Durdin and Ritsuko Ryu by 1 shot. Lurking only 3 behind are Sun-Ju Ahn, Yuri Fudoh, and Akiko Fukushima, while Sakura Yokomine, Momoko Ueda, and Chie Arimura are 4 back and Shiho Oyama and Mi-Jeong Jeon trail by 5.
Here's how the leaders and notables stand heading into the weekend:
1st/-6 Harukyo Nomura (66)
T2/-5 Tamie Durdin, Ritsuko Ryu (67)
T4/-3 Sun-Ju Ahn, Yuri Fudoh, Akiko Fukushima, Kaori Aoyama, Rui Yokomine, Erika Kikuchi (69)
T10/-2 Sakura Yokomine, Momoko Ueda, Chie Arimura, Nikki Campbell, Bo-Bae Song, Soo-Yun Kang, Hiromi Mogi, Akane Iijima, Ji-Woo Lee, Yuko Saitoh, Eun-Bi Jang (70)
T21/-1 Mi-Jeong Jeon, Shiho Oyama, Rui Kitada, Saiki Fujita, Mayu Hattori, Rikako Morita, Maiko Wakabayashi, Hiroko Ayada (71)
T34/E Miki Saiki, Yuko Mitsuka, Young Kim, Ayako Uehara, Mie Nakata, Na-Ri Kim, Esther Lee, Julie Lu, Tao-Li Yang (72)
T51/+1 Ji-Hee Lee, Kumiko Kaneda, Yukari Baba, Na-Ri Lee, Yuki Ichinose, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Kaori Ohe, Miki Sakai, Megumi Kido (73)
T68/+2 Teresa Lu, Asako Fujimoto, Jae-Hee Bae, Lala Anai (74)
T75/+3 Ah-Reum Hwang, Li-Ying Ye (75)
T100/+7 Erina Hara (79)
Double bogeys by Arimura and Iijima kept them well off the pace set by the trio at the top of the leaderboard. By contrast, many players fired bogey-free rounds besides Nomura, including Ahn, Ueda, Campbell, Aoyama, Kikuchi, and both Yokomines. Money-list leader Saiki eagled the 500-yard par-5 13th, but was unlucky the rest of her round, including the following 2 holes, which she bogeyed. I'll be interested to see if Teresa Lu can fight back from her slow start and build on her runner-up finish last week with a low round tomorrow!