Yukari Baba, Shinobu Moromizato, Na-Ri Kim, So-Hee Kim, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, and Yui Kawahara are your co-leaders at -4 after the 1st round of the JLPGA's season opener, the Daikin Orchid Ladies, but the biggest story coming out of Okinawa today is that Ji-Yai Shin had to withdraw after 8 holes due to wrist pain.
There are still plenty of big international names in the hunt, such as Inbee Park at -3, Mi-Jeong Jeon and Bo-Mee Lee at -2, Sakura Yokomine, Ji-Hee Lee, and Momoko Ueda at -1, Sun-Ju Ahn, Miki Saiki, and Teresa Lu at E, and Yuri Fudoh, Mika Miyazato, and Yuko Mitsuka at +1, but the loss of the #7 player in the Rolex Rankings threatens to overshadow the action on the course. Baba, Sattayabanphot, So-Hee Kim, Bo-Bae Song, Jeon, and Yuko Saitoh were the only players to make their way around Ryukyu Golf Club without a bogey, while Kaori Aoyama made the most birdies (8, but she's not leading because she had fewer pars than bogeys on the day!).
Here's a quick run-down of the scores from the top 10 and notables:
T1/-4 Yukari Baba, Shinobu Moromizato, Na-Ri Kim, So-Hee Kim, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, and Yui Kawahara (68)
T7/-3 Inbee Park, Bo-Bae Song, Rui Kitada, Kaori Aoyama (69)
T11/-2 Mi-Jeong Jeon, Bo-Mee Lee, Hiromi Mogi, Kumiko Kaneda, Yumiko Yoshida, Erika Kikuchi, Megumi Kido, Mizusu Narita, Hsuan-Yu Yao (70)
T25/-1 Sakura Yokomine, Ji-Hee Lee, Momoko Ueda, Soo-Yun Kang, Saiki Fujita, Mayu Hattori, Nikki Campbell, Kaori Ohe, Da-Ye Na (71)
T37/E Sun-Ju Ahn, Miki Saiki, Teresa Lu, Ayako Uehara, Hyun-Ju Shin, Na-Ri Lee, Yuki Ichinose, Mina Nakayama, Miki Uehara, Sae Yamamura, Mamiko Higa [a] (72)
T53/+1 Yuri Fudoh, Mika Miyazato, Yuko Mitsuka, Akane Iijima, Ji-Woo Lee, Kotono Kozuma (73)
T64/+2 Young Kim, Harukyo Nomura, Rikako Morita, Ritsuko Ryu, Asako Fujimoto, Esther Lee, Lala Anai, Asuka Tsujimura, Aiko Kaneda, Ming-Yen Chen, Minami Oshiro [a], Chiharu Oshiro [a] (74)
T84/+3 Erina Hara, Ah-Reum Hwang (75)
T88/+4 Porani Chutichai, Ayaka Kaneda (76)
T97/+5 Satsuki Oshiro (77)
T101/+6 Hiromi Takesue, Sakurako Mori (78)
T103/+7 Maiko Wakabayashi (79)
That's a lot of Kanedas and Oshiros in the field. Wonder if they're related to each other?
Notable by their absence were Ai Miyazato (#9 in the latest Rolex Rankings), Shanshan Feng (#12), Chie Arimura (#15), Shiho Oyama (#36), Li-Ying Ye (#88), Tamie Durdin (#133), Mie Nakata (#143), Yun-Jye Wei (#236), Mika Takushima (#252), and Tao-Li Yang (#406). Feng and Yi are rocking the LET's World Ladies Championship, at -6 and -4 respectively after the 1st round, while Wei shot a solid 72 and Yang struggled to a 75 there. But it appears that Miyazato, Arimura, and Oyama will be delaying their JLPGA debuts. Google translate isn't really helping me understand Arimura's latest blog post, but my best guess is that she doesn't feel that she's completed her off-season training (plus she may be dealing with nagging injuries and a little burnout). Although she looked great with Miyazato, Ahn, and Saiki in the latest Tour Stage commercial, it doesn't look like she's entered in next week's event, either, so I'm wondering what's up with her. Oyama's blog is similarly difficult to translate, but it's possible she or someone from her team may simply have forgotten to submit an entry form...? Since she's not entered in next week's Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup, either, there may be more to the story, however. Miyazato was never planning to enter the JLPGA season opener, but she just revealed on her blog that she had a high fever the night before the final round of the HSBC Women's Champions. Although she felt better in the morning and was able to play well, she had a relapse--complete with fever, chills, and low blood pressure--soon after it. Either because of her illness or in reaction to her medication, she even fainted in her hotel bathroom the day she was supposed to fly to Los Angeles! She did eventually make it back there and is glad to have some time to rest before the LPGA starts up again.
What Shin and Miyazato are going through shows just how tough the life of a world-class professional golfer can be. Best wishes for quick recoveries to both!