Sunday, September 4, 2011

Golf5 Ladies Sunday: Li-Ying Ye Gets 1st JLPGA Win

Even though Talas was downgraded to a tropical depression by the time it made landfall in Japan, it still dumped a lot of rain and caused at least 15 deaths.  While it didn't shut down the Golf5 Ladies tournament in Gifu, it did make scoring difficult, as Megumi Kido's 71 was the low round--and only under-par round--of the day.  Many golfers left with their hopes drenched, including Miki Saiki, who was hoping to move to the top of the JLPGA money list with a win but instead shot a 76, and 39-year-old Naoko Oshitani, who had to settle for a career-best finish in a JLPGA event of 9th when she, too, stumbled to a 76.  Saiki's fall probably hurt worse, as she was tied for the lead through 10 holes  at -6, but perhaps Hiromi Takesue's--which was caused by 3 bogeys in her last 4 holes--was the most painful collapse of the day, as Takesue was still -6 on the 15th tee whereas Saiki had already doubled the 11th and bogeyed the 14th by that time.

So who were the beneficiaries of these late collapses?  Li-Ying Ye and Ritsuko Ryu got front-row seats to Saiki's and Na-Ri Kim to Takesue's and Oshitani's, and it was this trio of golfers who ended up battling it out down the stretch.  Ryu, who was going for her 2nd win on the JLPGA in as many weeks, started the day tied for the lead with Ye, Saiki, and Takesue at -6, but quickly fell behind with 2 bogeys in her 1st 5 holes.  Still, after birdieing the 388-yard par-4 6th, she found herself tied at -5 with Ye and Kim, as Ye was actually +1 over her 1st 8 birdie-less holes, while Kim matched Ryu's bogey on the 524-yard par-5 2nd but bounced back with a birdie on 178-yard par-3 4th.  From the 7th hole on, Ryu would par out, finishing with a 73 that only 5 other golfers would match and 4 would beat.  But it wouldn't be enough.  Ye birdied the 386-yard par-4 9th just as Kim did the same in the group ahead of her on the 471-yard par-5 10th to take the dual lead at -6 (Saiki bogeyed 9 to drop to -5 at this point and her birdie on 10 to join them would be the last good thing she did on the course today).  They briefly gave the lead to Takesue when 1st Kim and then Ye bogeyed the 396-yard par-4 14th in turn, but as Takesue was collapsing they held strong.  In the end, Ye's birdie on the 508-yard par-5 16th made the difference, as she played the last 4 holes in -1 while Kim and Ryu could only manage to par out.  The win was the 1st of Ye's JLPGA career and best finish since taking 2nd at the 2009 Suntory Ladies Open.

Here are the final results:

1st/-6  Li-Ying Ye (68-70-72)
T2/-5 Na-Ri Kim (66-73-72), Ritsuko Ryu (69-69-73)
T4/-3 Junko Omote (71-70-72), Mi-Jeong Jeon (70-70-73), Hiromi Takesue (67-71-75)
T7/-2 Saiki Fujita (70-71-73), Miki Saiki (67-71-76)
9th/-1 Naoko Oshitani (68-71-76)
T10/E Megumi Kido (75-70-71), Eun-A Lim (72-70-74), Maiko Wakabayashi (72-70-74), Rikako Morita (68-74-74)

T14/+1 Esther Lee (72-72-73), Hiromi Mogi (74-69-74)
T18/+2 Erika Kikuchi (71-72-75), So-Hee Kim (71-71-76), Yuki Ichinose (70-72-76), Miki Sakai (68-74-76), Nikki Campbell (71-70-77), Shanshan Feng (69-71-78)
T26/+3 Akane Iijima (72-74-73), Kumiko Kaneda (71-72-76), Miki Uehara (69-74-76), Young Kim (68-74-77), Bo-Bae Song (69-72-78)
T33/+4 Shinobu Moromizato (73-72-75), Mayu Hattori (69-75-76)
T36/+5 Akiko Fukushima (77-69-75), Mika Takushima (71-75-75), Sakura Yokomine (70-76-75), Onnarin Sattayabanphot (73-71-77)
49th/+11  Maria Iida (73-72-82)
T51/+14 Sakurako Mori (69-77-84)

Having moved her up from #48 to #21 (right behind countrywoman Shanshan Feng) on the JLPGA money list, Ye's win gives her the best chance of finishing in its top 35 for the 1st time in her career.  Ryu, Omote, and Kim also made big moves up the money list today.

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥70.99M
2. Chie Arimura ¥62.02M
3. Miki Saiki ¥59.03M
4. Ji-Hee Lee ¥56.51M
5. Sakura Yokomine ¥52.58M
6. Yuri Fudoh ¥36.32M
7. Ritsuko Ryu ¥35.08M
8. Hiromi Mogi ¥30.34M
9. Rui Kitada ¥29.18M
10. Ayako Uehara ¥27.57M
11. Junko Omote ¥24.89M
12. Inbee Park ¥24.33M
13. Kumiko Kaneda ¥24.20M
14. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥24.16M
15. Na-Ri Kim ¥23.36M
16. Bo-Bae Song ¥23.34M
17. Yukari Baba ¥21.48M
18. Rikako Morita ¥20.74M
19. Mayu Hattori ¥19.78M
20. Shanshan Feng ¥19.50M
21. Li-Ying Ye ¥19.09M
22. Saiki Fujita ¥18.81M
23. Asako Fujimoto ¥18.16M
24. Akiko Fukushima ¥16.33M
25. Teresa Lu ¥16.12M
26. Ji-Woo Lee ¥15.54M
27. Bo-Mee Lee ¥15.44M
28. Eun-A Lim ¥15.09M
29. Shinobu Moromizato ¥14.75M
30. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥14.40M
31. Esther Lee ¥14.27M
32. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥13.97M
33. Momoko Ueda ¥13.77M
34. Na-Ri Lee ¥13.56M
35. Soo-Yun Kang ¥13.31M
36. Eun-Bi Jang ¥12.77M
37. Young Kim ¥12.77M
38. So-Hee Kim ¥12.49M
39. Shiho Oyama ¥12.38M
40. Ji-Yai Shin ¥11.91M
41. Akane Iijima ¥11.83M
42. Nikki Campbell ¥11.17M
43. Kaori Aoyama ¥11.13M
44. Yumiko Yoshida ¥11.07M
45. Miho Koga ¥10.67M
46. Mie Nakata ¥10.25M
47. Megumi Kido ¥9.89M
48. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥9.85M
49. Yuki Ichinose ¥8.75M
50. Hiromi Takesue ¥8.71M

Next week is the Konica Minolta Cup.  Momoko Ueda and Teresa Lu will join Shanshan Feng and Shiho Oyama as the only dual LPGA-JLPGA members to skip the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship for the JLPGA's 2nd major.  Both Ai and Mika Miyazato will be skipping the Navistar LPGA Classic the week after, however, to get ready for the Japan Women's Open, perhaps by playing in 1 or both of the intervening JLPGA events.  Unfortunately, the field lists for the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic and the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Ladies Open haven't yet been released, so we'll just have to wait a bit to find out--not to mention see whether Ji-Yai Shin, Inbee Park, and Hee Young Park will join them after playing in Alabama.  Right now it's looking like Ji-Yai, Hee Young, and Shanshan will be playing in the Imperial Springs LPGA event instead of in the JWO.  But we should know for sure in a week or 2.

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