Miho Koga fired a bogey-free 63 in the 1st round of the Meiji Chocolate Cup today to take a 4-shot lead on Hyun-Ju Shin and Yuki Ichinose and a 5-shot lead on a host of golfers, including Chie Arimura, Shanshan Feng, and Soo-Yun Kang. Defending champion Yuri Fudoh is another shot back after making 5 birdies in her last 7 holes and going -6 over her last 10 holes of bogey-free golf after a +3 start to her round. Meanwhile, the highest-ranked players on the JLPGA money list in the field, Miki Saiki and Ji-Hee Lee, could manage only a 71 and a 72, respectively. With Sun-Ju Ahn and Sakura Yokomine resting from their European swing, Koga has a great chance this weekend to move way up from #64 on the money list, while Arimura could vault into the conversation about #1 on tour if she can chase her down.
Here's how the leaders and notables stand:
1st/-9 Miho Koga (63)
T2/-5 Hyun-Ju Shin, Yuki Ichinose (67)
T4/-4 Chie Arimura, Shanshan Feng, Soo-Yun Kang, Ah-Reum Hwang, Eun-Bi Jang, Nachiyo Ohtani (68)
T10/-3 Yuri Fudoh, Rui Kitada, Yuko Mitsuka, Mayu Hattori, Eun-A Lim, Junko Omote, Li-Ying Ye, Midori Yoneyama, Erika Kikuchi, Kaori Nakamura, Jae-Hee Bae, Miki Uehara (69)
T22/-2 Kumiko Kaneda, Harukyo Nomura, Tamie Durdin, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Mika Takushima, Megumi Kido, Aiko Ueno (70)
T33/-1 Miki Saiki, Shiho Oyama, Bo-Mee Lee, Bo-Bae Song, Esther Lee, Julie Lu (71)
T44/E Ji-Hee Lee, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Mie Nakata, Ritsuko Ryu, Rikako Morita, Asako Fujimoto, Maiko Wakabayashi, So-Hee Kim, Ji-Woo Lee, Na-Ri Lee (72)
T59/+1 Akiko Fukushima, Young Kim, Teresa Lu, Yun-Jye Wei, Yumiko Yoshida, Yuki Sakurai, Aoi Nagata, Erina Yamato, Miki Sakai (73)
T77/+2 Shinobu Moromizato, Na-Ri Kim, Nikki Campbell, Kaori Aoyama, Lala Anai, Sakurako Mori, Ji-Na Lim (74)
T85/+3 Inbee Park, Akane Iijima, Yukari Baba, Ayako Uehara, Saiki Fujita, Erina Hara (75)
T100/+5 Pei-Ying Tsai (77)
Check out how many regulars on the top 30 of the JLPGA money list for the past several years are chasing some of the young guns and new blood on tour just for the privilege of playing on Sunday. I'd be shocked if any of the big names currently over par failed to make the cut, but they'll need to go well under par to make this a 54-hole event for themselves.