Asako Fujimoto blitzed the nearly 6700-yard par-73 Daihakone Country Club with a bogey-free 66 in the 1st round of the CAT Ladies to take a 2-shot lead on Kumiko Kaneda and a 3-shot lead on Chie Arimura, Miki Saiki, Na-Ri Kim, and Rikako Morita. Fujimoto's coming off her 2nd top 5 of the season and is now on a 4-round sub-70 run; in fact, she's failed to break 70 only 3 times in her last 10 rounds.
Meanwhile, defending champion and last week's near-winner Akiko Fukushima opened with a solid 70 as the woman who defeated her in a playoff, Sun-Ju Ahn, bounced back from a birdieless front with a bogey-free back for a 73. With Soo-Yun Kang, Sakura Yokomine, Mi-Jeong Jeon, and Teresa Lu within 5 of the lead and 36 holes yet to be played, it's far too soon for Fujimoto to be thinking about her 1st JLPGA win or Kaneda her 2nd. But it certainly would be exciting for either youngster to pull it off.
Here's how the leaders and notables stack up heading into the weekend:
1st/-7 Asako Fujimoto (66)
2nd/-5 Kumiko Kaneda (68)
T3/-4 Chie Arimura, Miki Saiki, Na-Ri Kim, Rikako Morita (69)
T7/-3 Akiko Fukushima, Soo-Yun Kang, Ayako Uehara, Akane Iijima, Junko Omote, Lala Anai, and 3 others (70)
T16/-2 Sakura Yokomine, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Teresa Lu, Rui Kitada, Miki Uehara, Eun-Bi Jang (71)
T23/-1 Yukari Baba, Nikki Campbell, Tamie Durdin, Na-Ri Lee, Mika Takushima, Julie Lu (72)
T31/E Sun-Ju Ahn, Ji-Hee Lee, Miho Koga, Hiromi Mogi, Ritsuko Ryu, Esther Lee (73)
T39/+1 Young Kim, Hyun-Ju Shin, Kaori Aoyama, Li-Ying Ye, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Kaori Ohe, Erika Kikuchi (74)
T54/+2 Shinobu Moromizato, Mayu Hattori, Saiki Fujita, Ji-Woo Lee, Eun-A Lim, Miki Sakai (75)
T62/+3 Yuko Mitsuka, So-Hee Kim, Ah-Reum Hwang, Jae-Hee Bae (76)
T70/+4 Shiho Oyama, Yumiko Yoshida, Rui Yokomine, Erina Hara (77)
T79/+5 Aiko Ueno, Erina Yamato (78)
T84/+6 Mie Nakata, Maiko Wakabayashi, Yuki Ichinose, Yun-Jye Wei (79)
T91/+7 Megumi Kido (80)
T95/+11 Pei-Ying Tsai (84)
It'll be interesting to see who will make a charge from back in the pack on moving day. Watch out for Iijima, who made a pair of eagles today, and Morita, who not only eagled the 1st but made 4 birdies in a row on the back.