Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nichi-Iko Ladies Sunday: Ayako Uehara Rides 5-Hole Birdie Train to 3rd JLPGA Victory

Ayako Uehara birdied her 1st 5 holes in a row to start the final round of the Nichi-Iko Ladies Open with a bang, then followed them up with birdies on the 7th and 9th holes to post a 29 on the front 9 (it would have been lower, but she had to settle for pars on the front's 2 par 3s). Uehara's playing partner and 2nd-round leader Bo-Bae Song tried to keep pace with birdies on her 1st 2 holes, but didn't make another until the par-5 9th, which left her 3 shots back as they made the turn despite posting a bogey-free 33 on the front. Song cut Uehara's lead to 2 with a birdie on the short par-4 11th, but both players exchanged pars until Uehara bogeyed the long part-4 17th, so still had a 1-shot lead heading into the final hole, a short par 5. After neither player could manage to birdie it, Uehara had earned her 3rd career JLPGA victory. Defending champion Hyun-Ju Shin had to settle for 4th place, as her final round 70 brought her to double digits under par, but broke her run in the 60s.

1st/-16 Ayako Uehara (66-68-66)
2nd/-15 Bo-Bae Song (67-66-68)
3rd/-13 Ah-Reum Hwang (70-66-67)
4th/-10 Hyun-Ju Shin (68-68-70)
5th/-9 Yeo-Jin Kang (69-71-67)
T6/-8 Yuri Fudoh (68-70-70), Junko Omote (66-68-74)
8th/-7 Mayu Hattori (68-72-69)
T9/-6 Ji-Hee Lee (70-75-65), Akane Iijima (70-69-71), Yukari Baba (69-70-71)

T12/-4 Soo-Yun Kang (70-72-70), Ritsuko Ryu (70-71-71), Hiromi Mogi (69-71-72)
T15/-3 Sakura Yokomine (73-72-68), Na-Ri Lee (71-73-69), Esther Lee (73-70-70), Yumiko Yoshida (70-73-70)
T20/-2 Miki Saiki (72-72-70), Onnarin Sattayabanphot (71-73-70), Kumiko Kaneda (70-73-71), Megumi Kido (72-70-72)
T28/-1 Yuki Ichinose (76-69-70), Shiho Oyama (72-71-72), Miho Koga (73-69-73), Maiko Wakabayashi (72-70-73), Erika Kikuchi (71-71-73), Miki Uehara (73-68-74)
T37/E Ji-Woo Lee (75-70-71), Young Kim (74-71-71), Yuko Mitsuka (74-69-73), Kaori Aoyama (71-72-73)
T43/+1 Kaori Ohe (70-75-72), Ayu Komatsu (68-75-74)
T49/+2 Eun-A Lim (74-69-75)
T51/+3 Miki Sakai (70-73-76), Mie Nakata (71-71-77)
T53/+4 Tao-Li Yang (73-72-75), Ji-Na Lim (71-71-78)

The winner's late bogey meant that Uehara fired her 2nd 66 of the week, but the round of the day and the tournament belonged to last week's winner Ji-Hee Lee, who moved all the way to T9 on the strength of a bogey-free 65 that started with a 31 on the back 9. Sakura Yokomine's 5-birdie 68 moved her into the top 15, but if she birdied instead of bogeyed her last hole, the 519-yard par 5, she would have tied Lee. Neither could catch Yuri Fudoh, also high on the JLPGA money list, in T6 at -8 for the week, though. In the end, although #2 on the money list Miki Saiki barely climbed into the top 20, she maintained her position as Sun-Ju Ahn's lead chaser.

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥54.42M
2. Miki Saiki ¥46.83M
3. Ji-Hee Lee ¥46.58M
4. Sakura Yokomine ¥38.32M
5. Yuri Fudoh ¥35.35M
6. Hiromi Mogi ¥28.84M
7. Rui Kitada ¥25.01M
8. Inbee Park ¥24.33M
9. Ayako Uehara ¥23.71M
10. Chie Arimura ¥22.30M
11. Kumiko Kaneda ¥20.41M
12. Yukari Baba ¥17.00M
13. Bo-Bae Song ¥14.22M
14. Mayu Hattori ¥13.91M
15. Teresa Lu ¥13.83M
16. Momoko Ueda ¥13.77M
17. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥13.71M
18. Ji-Woo Lee ¥13.34M
19. Ritsuko Ryu ¥12.89M
20. Bo-Mee Lee ¥12.05M
21. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥11.92M
22. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥11.72M
23. Junko Omote ¥11.66M
24. Na-Ri Lee ¥11.42M
25. Saiki Fujita ¥10.86M
26. Ji-Yai Shin ¥10.67M
27. Young Kim ¥10.33M
28. Mie Nakata ¥10.25M
29. Rikako Morita ¥10.17M
30. Kaori Aoyama ¥9.61M
31. Esther Lee ¥9.42M
32. Akane Iijima ¥9.28M
33. Yumiko Yoshida ¥9.09M
34. Nikki Campbell ¥9.03M
35. Eun-A Lim ¥8.32M
36. Shiho Oyama ¥8.11M
37. Asako Fujimoto ¥8.04M
38. Akiko Fukushima ¥8.01M
39. So-Hee Kim ¥7.95M
40. Shinobu Moromizato ¥7.63M
41. Megumi Kido ¥7.58M
42. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥7.49M
43. Satsuki Oshiro ¥6.86M
44. Na-Ri Kim ¥6.42M
45. Yuki Ichinose ¥6.41M
46. Soo-Yun Kang ¥6.35M
47. Miki Sakai ¥5.01M
48. Ji-Na Lim ¥5.00M
49. Nachiyo Ohtani ¥4.95M
50. Kaori Ohe ¥4.85M

Next up is the Stanley Ladies, which Sun-Ju Ahn defends, but before that the top JLPGAers from last season--Ahn, Yokomine, Jeon, Baba, Moromizato, and Bo-Mee Lee (by virtue of her KLPGA performance last year), along with dual members Ji-Yai Shin, Ai Miyazato, Inbee Park, Momoko Ueda, Teresa Lu, Shanshan Feng, and Hee Young Park (all by virtue of their LPGA play from last year and/or Rolex Ranking)--play the U.S. Women's Open at the Broadmoor. I'm tempted to pick the long-hitting Ahn and Yokomine in the PakPicker competition at Seoul We'll see!

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