Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup Sunday: Seoul Sisters Showdown as Bo-Mee Lee Beats Sun-Ju Ahn in Playoff

23-year-old Bo-Mee Lee split her time between the KLPGA and JLPGA last season, but this year she's focusing mainly on the JLPGA, and going by her playoff defeat of 24-year-old Sun-Ju Ahn at the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup today, the 2010 KLPGA Player of the Year is ready to make some noise on the JLPGA in 2012.

Having dominated the JLPGA the last 2 seasons, Ahn started the final round looking like someone shooting for a Player of the Year hat trick, as she took over the lead from 2nd-round leaders Yuri Fudoh, Mi-Jeong Jeon, and Ayako Uehara at -2 on the strength of 4 birdies (including 3 in a row) over her 1st 7 holes.  But an Ahn bogey on the 363-yard par 4 8th coupled with birdies by Uehara and Lee dropped her back into a 3-way tie for the lead.  Lee kept pouring it on with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-4 12th (to bring her total to 4 in her previous 6 holes), but Uehara kept pace with her from the final group, joining her at -3 with 6 holes to play.  Then it was Uehara's turn to blink, as her bogey on the 365-yard par-4 13th dropped her back into a tie for 2nd with Ahn, who could only manage 1 birdie (on the 296-yard par-4 11th) after her mistake on 8.  But despite cooling off in the middle of her round Ahn kept her cool down the stretch and sank a clutch birdie putt on the 315-yard par-4 16th to join Lee at -3.  When neither Lee nor Uehara could make a birdie down the stretch, it was playoff time for the 2nd week in a row on the JLPGA.  In a classic Seoul Sisters showdown, Lee defeated Ahn with a par on the 2nd playoff hole.

Although there were bright spots for Japanese golfers on the 1-year anniversary of the horrific earthquake and typhoon--Akane Iijima birdied 3 of her last 5 holes to join Jeon and Soo-Yun Kang at E for the week, 21-year-old Mina Nakayama got her 1st career top 10 thanks to a 6-birdie 69, and Sakura Yokomine bounced back from a moving-day nightmare to just miss the top 10--the day belonged to the "Korean power wave" the Japanese media makes such a big deal of, with 26-year-old Na-Ri Kim getting within 2 shots of the lead before falling off the pace with back-to-back bogeys to close out her round, 23-year-old Na-Ri Lee posting her best finish since last October, and 24-year-old Da-Ye Na garnering her 2nd-straight top 20, not to mention the big names at the very top of the leaderboard.

1st/-3 Bo-Mee Lee (73-71-69) [won in playoff]
2nd/-3 Sun-Ju Ahn (73-73-67)
3rd/-2 Ayako Uehara (73-70-71)
T4/E Akane Iijima (73-74-69), Soo-Yun Kang (72-73-71), Mi-Jeong Jeon (69-74-73)
T7/+1 Mina Nakayama (76-72-69), Ritsuko Ryu (75-73-69), Na-Ri Kim (74-73-70)
10th/+2 Yuri Fudoh (68-75-75)

11th/+3 Teresa Lu (77-68-74)
T12/+4 Kumiko Kaneda (75-74-71), Na-Ri Lee (75-74-71), Sakura Yokomine (72-77-71), Saiki Fujita (73-73-74)
T18/+5 Mayu Hattori (74-77-70), Li-Ying Ye (73-78-70), Da-Ye Na (77-73-71)
T22/+6 Aiko Kaneda (75-74-73), Yuki Ichinose (75-73-74), Harukyo Nomura (74-74-74), Hiromi Mogi (73-75-74)
T28/+7 Erina Hara (77-73-73), So-Hee Kim (76-74-73), Hyun-Ju Shin (73-76-74), Asako Fujimoto (77-71-75), Yumiko Yoshida (70-75-78)
T33/+8 Shanshan Feng (76-76-72)
T37/+9 Yukari Baba (76-76-73), Esther Lee (73-77-75), Sae Yamamura (76-73-76), Shinobu Moromizato (73-74-78)
T43/+10 Erika Kikuchi (74-78-74), Rui Kitada (74-77-75), Haruka Kudo (77-74-76), Ji-Hee Lee (76-72-78)
56th/+13 Misuzu Narita (77-75-77)
T58/+15 Kaori Ohe (74-78-79)

Here are the top 20 on the new JLPGA money list:
1. Bo-Mee Lee ¥16.10M
2. Airi Saitoh ¥14.40M
3. Mi-Jeong Jeon, Akane Iijima ¥7.10M
5. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥7.04M
6. Ji-Hee Lee ¥6.60M
7. Yuko Mitsuka ¥6.32M
8. Ayako Uehara ¥5.97M
9. Soo-Yun Kang ¥5.30M
10. Erika Kikuchi ¥5.14M
11. Sakura Yokomine ¥4.27M
12. Rui Kitada ¥3.44M
13. Na-Ri Kim ¥3.05M
14. Ritsuko Ryu ¥2.84M
15. Mina Nakayama ¥2.77M
16. Mayu Hattori ¥2.49M
17. Teresa Lu ¥2.36M
18. Yuri Fudoh ¥2.31M
19. Rikako Morita ¥2.04M
20. Kumiko Kaneda ¥1.88M

Next up is the T-Point Ladies.   Let's see if Ahn and Lee develop an ongoing JLPGA rivalry!

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