Sun-Ju Ahn birdied 4 of her 1st 7 holes and 2 of her last 6 to join Esther Lee atop the leaderboard of the Suntory Ladies Open at -5. Ahn, now #7 in the latest Rolex Rankings, just leapfrogged Ai Miyazato, who's playing on the JLPGA this week in part to honor one of her sponsors, Suntory, struggled in her opening 9 on the back with 3 bogeys and only 1 birdie but caught fire as she started the front with 4 birdies over the 1st 6 holes to post a 70, 3 shots behind Ahn. 1 shot further back is last week's winner Sakura Yokomine, who bogeyed 3 in a row late on the back (her front) but bounced back with 3 birdies in a row to start the front. Others at the top of the JLPGA money list didn't fare so well--Miki Saiki is 6 back, Inbee Park is 8 back, and Yuri Fudoh is 10 back--but with 49 players within 5 shots of the lead, Ahn will have to keep the pedal to the metal today.
After all check out who's chasing her:
T1/-5 Sun-Ju Ahn, Esther Lee (67)
3rd/-4 Ji-Woo Lee (68)
T4/-3 Hiromi Mogi, Ayako Uehara, Midori Yoneyama, Kuniko Maeda (69)
T8/-2 Ai Miyazato, Chie Arimura, Soo-Yun Kang, Shiho Oyama, Na-Ri Kim, Mayu Hattori, Asako Fujimoto, Kaori Ohe, Chihiro Ikeda [a], Sakura Kito [a] (70)
T18/-1 Sakura Yokomine, Akiko Fukushima, Ji-Hee Lee, Bo-Mee Lee, Akane Iijima, Rui Kitada, Saiki Fujita, Mie Nakata, Rikako Morita, Nikki Campbell, Eun-A Lim, Kaori Aoyama, Yun-Jye Wei, Jae-Hee Bae, Tao-Li Yang, Yumiko Yoshida (71)
T37/E Mi-Jeong Jeon, Shinobu Moromizato, Hyun-Ju Shin, Erina Hara, Yuki Ichinose, Aoi Nagata, Miho Mori [a] (72)
T50/+1 Miki Saiki, Maiko Wakabayashi, Ah-Reum Hwang, So-Hee Kim, Li-Ying Ye, Mika Takushima, Eun-Bi Jang (73)
T62/+2 Ritsuko Ryu, Julie Lu, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Ji-Na Lim, Lala Anai, Pei-Ying Tsai (74)
T73/+3 Inbee Park, Young Kim, Tamie Durdin, Na-Ri Lee, Yuko Mitsuka, Megumi Kido, Miki Sakai, Miki Uehara, Hiroko Ayada (75)
T94/+4 Teresa Lu, Yukari Baba, Erika Kikuchi (76)
T104/+5 Yuri Fudoh, Kumiko Kaneda (77)
118th/+7 Min-Jeong Ko [a] (79)
119th/+8 Simin Feng (80)
Yun-Jye Wei was the only player in the field to manage a bogey-free round, while Kaori Aoyama and Chiharu Tsunekawa were the only ones to eagle a hole. Meanwhile, defending champion Akane Iijima posted 4 birdies and 3 bogeys to stay within 4 shots of the lead heading into today's round.