Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fundokin Ladies Sunday: Miki Saiki Holds on for 3rd Career JLPGA Victory

Miki Saiki extended her bogey-free run in the Fundokin Ladies to 29 holes--a span in which she made 9 birdies, including 3 in 4 holes midway through the front side today--before a bogey on the long par-4 11th dropped her back to -8 for the week. Playing partner Inbee Park, who had fallen as many as 4 shots behind her, rebounded with a birdie on the 9th hole to return to -6 for the tournament, so after Saiki's stumble, Park was suddenly within 2 of the lead with only 7 holes left to play. But a double bogey on the medium-length par-4 15th and inability to take advantage of either of the 2 closing par 5s (on 16 and 18) dropped her all the way to T5. Saiki, meanwhile, returned to -9 with a birdie on the 16th. Would she hold on for the win?

On a day in Fukuoka when Park's fellow dual LPGA-JLPGA members Meena Lee and Momoko Ueda blew up with a 77 and a 78 respectively, Na Yeon Choi, Shiho Oyama, and Soo-Yun Kang treaded water with roller-coaster 72s, and Mika Miyazato could only put together a 71, very few players made a run at the 2nd-round co-leaders. Down the stretch, Rui Kitada was the only one of them to put real pressure on Saiki, as she made 5 birdies from the 5th hole on--with the last coming on the final hole--in a 16-hole bogey-free run that brought her to -7 for the tournament. Having parred the 17th as Kitada was finishing her round 2 groups ahead of her, Saiki could get her 3rd career JLPGA victory with a bogey or better on the 18th. And she did.

Saiki's steadiness and Kitada's brilliance made a few nice final rounds moot. Ritsuko Ryu made 5 birdies on the back to climb to -5 for the week, good enough for a T3 finish. Mi-Jeong Jeon birdied 3 of her last 4 holes to climb to T5. Sakura Yokomine played her last 17 holes bogey-free and made 5 birdies in that stretch to fire a 68 and squeak into the top 10. Yuri Fudoh posted her 2nd-straight 69 to join her there, as did Esther Lee, who birdied 6 of her last 13 holes to recover from a double-par-bogey start to her round. And Kaori Ohe fired a 6-birdie 68 to tie for low round of the day and end the week at T13.

Here's how the leaders and notables ended up this week:

T1/-8 Miki Saiki (71-67-70)
2nd/-7 Rui Kitada (71-70-69)
T3/-5 Ritsuko Ryu (72-71-68), Hiromi Mogi (72-69-70)
T5/-4 Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-70-70), Ji-Na Lim (71-71-70), Mayu Hattori (70-72-70), Mika Miyazato (71-70-71), Inbee Park (69-69-74)
T10/-3 Sakura Yokomine (75-70-68), Esther Lee (76-68-69), Yuri Fudoh (75-69-69)

T13/-2 Kaori Ohe (74-72-68), Bo-Bae Song (73-72-69), Na-Ri Kim (72-73-69), Akiko Fukushima (75-69-70), Sun-Ju Ahn (71-73-70), Tamie Durdin (71-72-71), Yukari Baba (74-67-73)
T21/-1 Young Kim (72-73-70), Kaori Aoyama (72-73-70)
T24/E Akane Iijima (73-73-70), Chie Arimura (71-73-72), Soo-Yun Kang (70-74-72), Yumiko Yoshida (73-69-74)
T28/+1 Saiki Fujita (74-73-70), Shiho Oyama (74-71-72), Na Yeon Choi (73-72-72)
31st/+2 Onnarin Sattayabanphot (70-76-72)
T32/+3 Miki Uehara (74-74-71), Maiko Wakabayashi (73-74-72), Miho Koga (71-75-73), Ji-Woo Lee (75-69-75)
T36/+4 Mika Takushima (77-72-71), Mie Nakata (73-74-73)
T41/+6 Yun-Jye Wei (73-76-73), Rikako Morita (73-75-74)
T46/+7 Shinobu Moromizato (75-73-75)
T49/+8 Ayako Uehara (76-73-75), Eun-A Lim (76-73-75), Li-Ying Ye (75-73-76), Megumi Kido (75-72-77), Meena Lee (72-75-77)
T54/+9 Momoko Ueda (76-71-78)
56th/+11 Asako Fujimoto (73-76-78)

There's a new #1 on the JLPGA money list!

1. Miki Saiki ¥37.04M
2. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥30.32M
3. Yuri Fudoh ¥28.90M
4. Inbee Park ¥20.52M
5. Kumiko Kaneda ¥18.48M
6. Ji-Hee Lee ¥15.14M
7. Rui Kitada ¥13.44M
8. Momoko Ueda ¥11.67M
9. Sakura Yokomine ¥11.59M
10. Teresa Lu ¥11.50M
11. Ji-Yai Shin ¥10.67M
12. Yukari Baba ¥10.21M
13. Hiromi Mogi ¥10.00M
14. Chie Arimura ¥9.63M
15. Saiki Fujita ¥9.04M
16. Ji-Woo Lee ¥8.96M
17. Bo-Bae Song ¥8.29M
18. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥8.17M
19. Mayu Hattori ¥8.00M
20. Bo-Mee Lee ¥7.49M
21. Yumiko Yoshida ¥6.52M
22. Shinobu Moromizato ¥6.46M
23. Young Kim ¥6.35M
24. Ritsuko Ryu ¥6.11M
25. Rikako Morita ¥6.04M
26. Mie Nakata ¥5.85M
27. Akiko Fukushima ¥5.68M
28. Asako Fujimoto ¥5.48M
29. Shiho Oyama ¥5.29M
30. Ji-Na Lim ¥4.79M
31. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥4.78M
32. Na-Ri Kim ¥4.28M
33. Lala Anai ¥3.95M
34. Soo-Yun Kang ¥3.84M
35. Yuki Ichinose ¥3.81M

Next week Yuri Fudoh defends her title at the Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open. Momoko Ueda will be the only LPGAer eligible for the Sybase Match Play Championship to elect to stay in Japan. (None of the JLPGA's regulars also eligible for the Sybase will be making the trip to NJ, either.) Na Yeon Choi, Mika Miyazato, and Inbee Park will have a bit of jet lag to deal with on the other side of the planet. Let's see if they play as well as Ji-Yai Shin, Ai Miyazato, Hee Young Park, and Shanshan Feng, who decided to return to the States sooner....

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