Momoko Ueda turned a 2-shot deficit to Sun-Ju Ahn with 5 holes to go in the 3rd round of the Salonpas Cup into a 1-shot lead with a pair of birdies that lifted her to -8 for the week. But tomorrow's round is very unlikely to be a 2-player shootout, as there are 6 other golfers within 5 shots of Ueda's lead. Sakura Yokomine (66, -3 overall) and Miki Saiki (68, -5) made the most impressive moves of moving day, but don't count out potential Cinderella Teresa Lu (69, -6), JLPGA rising star Chie Arimura (71, -3), KLPGA superstar Bo-Mee Lee (72, -3), or JLPGA young gun Yuki Ichinose (70, -3).
Defending champion Morgan Pressel (71, -2 overall) and fellow LPGAer Inbee Park (72, E) will need to make huge charges tomorrow to put themselves in the mix, but at least they're in much better shape than other big-name players who have great records on other tours like Ai Miyazato (77, +8), Na Yeon Choi (75, +7), Hee Young Park (78, +5), Soo-Yun Kang (73, +5), Mika Miyazato (74, +4), Meena Lee (77, +4), and He Yong Choi (72, +4).
So here are the leaders and notables who will be looking to prevent Momoko Ueda from getting her 1st JLPGA victory since the 2009 season:
1st/-8 Momoko Ueda (70-68-70)
2nd/-7 Sun-Ju Ahn (71-67-71)
3rd/-6 Teresa Lu (70-69-71)
4th/-5 Miki Saiki (71-72-68)
T5/-3 Sakura Yokomine (74-73-66), Yuki Ichinose (73-70-70), Chie Arimura (75-67-71), Bo-Mee Lee (70-71-72)
T9/-2 Morgan Pressel (73-70-71), Mayu Hattori (70-70-74)
T11/-1 Ji-Hee Lee (75-69-71), Megumi Kido (72-69-74)
T14/E Mie Nakata (75-72-69), So-Hee Kim (72-74-70), Rui Kitada (73-72-71), Inbee Park (74-70-72)
T18/+1 Hyun-Ju Shin (75-71-71), Shiho Oyama (75-70-72), Nikki Campbell (71-73-73), Na-Ri Lee (75-68-74), Yuri Fudoh (69-73-75)
T23/+2 Maiko Wakabayashi (75-72-71), Miki Sakai (75-72-71), Tamie Durdin (75-67-76)
T27/+3 Shinobu Moromizato (76-72-71), Onnarin Sattayabanphot (76-71-72), Mika Takushima (74-73-72), Li-Ying Ye (72-75-72), Akiko Fukushima (73-72-74), Yuko Mitsuka (73-71-75)
T33/+4 Saiki Fujita (77-71-72), He-Yong Choi (76-72-72), Ayako Uehara (72-76-72), Hiromi Mogi (76-71-73), Mika Miyazato (72-74-74), Yumiko Yoshida (71-74-75), Meena Lee (73-70-77)
T41/+5 Soo-Yun Kang (76-72-73), Tao-Li Yang (73-75-73), Ji-Woo Lee (72-73-76), Lala Anai (74-70-77), Hee Young Park (70-73-78)
T46/+6 Esther Lee (75-73-74), Rikako Morita (76-71-75), Kaori Aoyama (75-72-75)
T50/+7 Na Yeon Choi (77-71-75), Julie Lu (73-74-76), Ji-Na Lim (75-70-78)
T55/+8 Ai Miyazato (76-71-77)
57th/+10 Na-Ri Kim (75-70-81)
I'm not gonna lie, I'd be much happier if Ai-sama or Mikan or NYC were at the other end of the leaderboard, but I'm still pretty psyched that Momoko has such a great chance to build her confidence, that Lu or Lee might break through, that Sakura could be back, that Ahn and Arimura might get back in gear, and that Morgan still has a chance to defend her title. Tomorrow should be cool!