Sunday, September 11, 2011

Konica Minolta Cup Sunday: Yuko Mitsuka Holds Off Shanshan Feng as Sakura Yokomine Collapses

Yuko Mitsuka has been wandering in the JLPGA wilderness for the last 17 months, paying the price for her temper tantrum in the 1st round of the 1st major of 2010, but she took what she learned on her journeys and used it this week at the Konica Minolta Cup to get her 1st win since the 1st tournament of 2009 and the biggest among her 4 career victories.  She won the 2nd major of 2011 on the JLPGA with a final-round 69, which included a 3-birdie 34 on the front that enabled her to catch and pass 3rd-round leader and playing partner Sakura Yokomine (who opened with a birdieless 38) and a bogey-free 35 on the back that enabled her to hold off a charging Shanshan Feng (who birdied her last 2 holes to shave Mitsuka's margin of victory to a single stroke).  By going bogey-free and -3 over her last 15 holes, Mitsuka kept the pressure on Yokomine, the JLPGA's best active Japanese golfer who was going for her 19th win and 3rd major title in her 8th season on tour, and who responded with 4 bogeys in her 1st 6 holes on the back.  And Mitsuka's clutch play down the stretch made LPGAer Feng's 68 from the next-to-last group too little, too late in her bid for her 2nd career JLPGA victory and the biggest win of her young career.

Here's how the leaders and notables ended the week:

1st/-6 Yuko Mitsuka (67-71-74-69)
2nd/-5 Shanshan Feng (71-72-72-68)
3rd/-2 Sakura Yokomine (69-70-71-76)
4th/-1 Ah-Reum Hwang (71-76-69-71)
5th/E Eun-Bi Jang (74-69-74-71)
T6/+1 Mayu Hattori (71-73-72-73), Yuri Fudoh (67-77-72-73)
T8/+2 Mi-Jeong Jeon (74-72-74-70), Rikako Morita (70-73-72-75), Akiko Fukushima (68-74-73-75)

11th/+3 Bo-Bae Song (73-73-74-71)
T12/+4 Tamie Durdin (75-74-72-71), Asako Fujimoto (71-74-76-71),  Li-Ying Ye (73-73-71-75), Maiko Wakabayashi (71-76-68-77), Saiki Fujita (73-67-73-79)
T17/+5 Yumiko Yoshida (72-76-75-70), Eun-A Lim (75-73-74-71), Hyun-Ju Shin (75-72-73-73), Nikki Campbell (73-73-74-73), Erika Kikuchi (78-70-71-74), Hiromi Mogi (72-73-73-75), Miho Koga (71-75-71-76)
T25/+6 Momoko Ueda (75-72-75-72), Ritsuko Ryu (70-73-75-76), Junko Omote (75-73-69-77) 
T29/+7 Young Kim (72-74-75-74), Kaori Aoyama (70-76-74-75), Bo-Mee Lee (70-75-75-75), Erina Hara (75-70-74-76)
T34/+8 So-Hee Kim (76-73-74-73), Na-Ri Kim (72-75-76-73), Shinobu Moromizato (73-73-74-76), Kumiko Kaneda (73-77-69)-77)
T39/+9 Sun-Ju Ahn (73-75-77-72), Esther Lee (75-74-75-73), Ji-Hee Lee (74-75-75-73), Ji-Woo Lee (77-71-72-77)
T46/+10 Miki Saiki (76-73-73-76), Miki Sakai (72-73-77-76), Yukari Baba (74-75-72-77), Rui Kitada (71-74-76-77)
T52/+11 Na-Ri Lee (75-75-74-75), Mika Takushima (72-75-74-78)
T54/+12 Megumi Kido (76-73-73-77)
T56/+13 Da Ye Na (75-75-77-74), Ji-Na Lim (78-71-76-76), Yun-Jye Wei (74-76-74-77), Soo-Yun Kang (72-67-81-81)
T61/+16 Miki Uehara (76-73-79-76)
64th/+20 Yuki Ichinose (74-73-79-82)

Yokomine's bid to pass Sun-Ju Ahn and retake the #1 spot on the JLPGA money list came up short, but she did move to #2, displacing the injured Chie Arimura.  The week after her countrywoman Li-Ying Ye almost passed Feng on the strength of her 1st JLPGA victory, Feng moved up 12 spots into the top 10 with her runner-up finish.  But the biggest move was of course by Mitsuka, who moved up 64 positions, just outside the top 10.

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥71.67M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥62.38M
3. Chie Arimura ¥62.02M
4. Miki Saiki ¥59.62M
5. Ji-Hee Lee ¥57.18M
6. Yuri Fudoh ¥41.57M
7. Ritsuko Ryu ¥36.10M
8. Shanshan Feng ¥31.82M
9. Hiromi Mogi ¥31.62M
10. Rui Kitada ¥29.76M
11. Yuko Mitsuka ¥28.70M
12. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥27.66M
13. Ayako Uehara ¥27.57M
14. Junko Omote ¥25.91M
15. Bo-Bae Song ¥25.81M
16. Mayu Hattori ¥25.03M
17. Kumiko Kaneda ¥24.97M
18. Inbee Park ¥24.33M
19. Rikako Morita ¥24.24M
20. Na-Ri Kim ¥24.12M
21. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥22.37M
22. Yukari Baba ¥22.06M
23. Li-Ying Ye ¥21.14M
24. Saiki Fujita ¥20.86M
25. Asako Fujimoto ¥20.20M
26. Akiko Fukushima ¥19.83M
27. Eun-Bi Jang ¥19.77M
28. Eun-A Lim ¥16.37M
29. Bo-Mee Lee ¥16.34M
30. Ji-Woo Lee ¥16.21M
31. Teresa Lu ¥16.12M
32. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥15.68M
33. Shinobu Moromizato ¥15.51M
34. Esther Lee ¥14.95M
35. Momoko Ueda ¥14.79M
36. Na-Ri Lee ¥14.08M
37. Soo-Yun Kang ¥13.76M
38. Young Kim ¥13.66M
39. So-Hee Kim ¥13.26M
40. Nikki Campbell ¥12.44M
41. Shiho Oyama ¥12.38M
42. Yumiko Yoshida ¥12.34M
43. Kaori Aoyama ¥12.02M
44. Miho Koga ¥11.95M
45. Ji-Yai Shin ¥11.91M
46. Akane Iijima ¥11.83M
47. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥10.52M
48. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥10.43M
49. Megumi Kido ¥10.39M
50. Mie Nakata ¥10.25M

With Ai and Mika Miyazato skipping the Navistar LPGA Classic to get ready for the Japan Women's Open, but Inbee Park and Hee Young Park choosing to play in Alabama, it'll be interesting to see who tees it up in the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic and the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Ladies Open.  Unfortunately, their field lists still haven't been released.  Right now it's looking like Hee Young Park and Shanshan Feng will be playing in the Imperial Springs LPGA event instead of in the JWO, as will Ji-Yai Shin if her back injury heals quicker than expected.  But we'll have to wait and see if anyone's plans change after today's results in NW Arkansas before we can say for sure how the rest of September is shaping up on the JLPGA and LPGA.

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