Harukyo Nomura is the 1st young Japanese golfer to succeed at following the Mika Miyazato path to professionalization: starting her pro career in the United States rather than in Japan, Nomura has already won on the Futures Tour and gotten an LPGA start. Now she has a chance to win on the JLPGA on a sponsor exemption, just like Mikan has. Sure, a wire-to-wire win at the Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open this week wouldn't be as impressive as Miyazato's wire-to-wire win at the Japan Women's Open last year, but I don't think Nomura would turn down a chance to beat Sun-Ju Ahn, whom she leads by 2 shots heading into the final round, not to mention everyone else in the field, only 16 of whom are within 5 shots of her -9 total through 36 holes, among them the likes of Shiho Oyama, Momoko Ueda, and Mi-Jeong Jeon, along with a number of other seasoned and young JLPGA stars.
So who exactly does Nomura need to stay ahead of tomorrow for her 1st career JLPGA victory?
1st/-9 Harukyo Nomura (66-69)
2nd/-7 Sun-Ju Ahn (69-68)
3rd/-6 Ritsuko Ryu (67-71)
T4/-5 Megumi Kido (73-66), Ayako Uehara (72-67), Shiho Oyama (71-68), Rui Kitada (71-68), Satsuki Oshiro (71-68), Bo-Bae Song (70-69), Kaori Aoyama (69-70)
T11/-4 Yukari Baba (73-67), Mi-Jeong Jeon (71-69), Rikako Morita (71-69), Momoko Ueda (70-70), Nikki Campbell (70-70), Hiromi Mogi (70-70), Tamie Durdin (67-73)
T18/-3 Sakura Yokomine (70-71), Chie Arimura (70-71), Ji-Woo Lee (70-71), Akiko Fukushima (69-72)
T23/-2 Ji-Hee Lee (73-69), Kumiko Kaneda (73-69), Na-Ri Lee (73-69), Julie Lu (72-70), Soo-Yun Kang (70-72), Akane Iijima (70-72)
T32/-1 Miki Saiki (72-71), Mie Nakata (72-71), Esther Lee (72-71), Saiki Fujita (71-72), Mayu Hattori (71-72), Yuri Fudoh (69-74), Erika Kikuchi (69-74)
T43/E Young Kim (72-72), Na-Ri Kim (72-72)
T46/+1 Teresa Lu (74-71), Onnarin Sattayabanphot (73-72), Miki Sakai (73-72), Rui Yokomine (69-76)
MC: Lala Anai (74-72), Tao-Li Yang (72-74), Maiko Wakabayashi (71-75), Ah-Reum Hwang (75-72), Li-Ying Ye (75-72), Eun-Bi Jang (70-77), Asako Fujimoto (74-74), Kaori Ohe (73-75), Hiroko Ayada (71-77), Jae-Hee Bae (74-75), Yuki Ichinose (73-76), Erina Hara (79-78)
WD: Yuko Mitsuka (72-WD)
Kido's bogey-free 66, Ryu's bogey-free 71, and Oshiro's 5-birdie 68 give them good chances to upstage Nomura, while the always-dangerous Song birdied 4 of her last 6 holes to move into position for her 4th career JLPGA victory. So it's not like the JLPGA's youngsters won't have a say in the final results tomorrow. But when you see that 1 of their best, Morita, finished bogey-bogey-birdie to fall 5 shots off the pace and that Kaneda needed a bogey-free 33 on the back just to pull within 6, Nomura's 1st 2 rounds as a pro on the JLPGA are even more impressive. Let's see if she can close the deal tomorrow!
[Update 1 (6:09 am): Interesting that Korean cutie Jang missed the cut this week on the JLPGA, while JLPGA member Bo-Mee Lee has a chance to win tomorrow on the KLPGA!]