With the LPGA in Mobile, Alabama, and the JLPGA in The Full Metal Archivist's home prefecture of Chiba, it's really interesting to see who steps up onto the global stage and takes the spotlight while Ya Ni Tseng, Ai Miyazato, and In-Kyung Kim sit this week out.
Over in Japan at the CyberAgent Ladies, a showdown is brewing between some of the most compelling stars on tour. Dual LPGA-JLPGA member Inbee Park is gunning for her 4th career victory in Japan, but she's going to have to face down 17-time winner Mi-Jeong Jeon and 10-time winner Chie Arimura, who both matched her opening 68. Jeon is 2nd on the money list, while Arimura is looking to make up for a late start to 2012. And just as other big-name players are looking to rev up their seasons--like Sakura Yokomine (1 back), Yuri Fudoh (2 back), Sun-Ju Ahn (3 back), Ji-Yai Shin (4 back), and Momoko Ueda (4 back)--others are looking to get their careers back on track (namely Erina Hara, who opened with a 69, and Yuki Sakurai, whose 71 was her 1st under-par round on tour since late August 2011).
Lest you think the JLPGA's weekend is in danger of overshadowing the LPGA's, never fear, as Stacy Lewis has opened the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic with a 68 and a 67 to take a 1-shot lead on Karin Sjodin (who fired a 64 today!), So Yeon Ryu (who shot a 67 despite doubling the 2nd), and rookie Sydnee Michaels (who's gone 68-68!), and a 2-shot lead on Chella Choi (65!), Brittany Lincicome (67), and Mariajo Uribe (69). Lewis may yet regret the walkoff bogey that ended her 35-hole bogey-free run and dropped her out of double digits over par, as plenty of golfers have a chance to pass her this afternoon, including Lindsey Wright, Haeji Kang, and Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Sun Young Yoo. Me, I'm super-psyched my junior golf buddy Moira Dunn shot a 67 today to pull within 3 shots of Lewis and that Jee Young Lee (67) and Mina Harigae (68) gave themselves a great shot at coming back to make the cut after terrible opening rounds. So far, there's not been a lot of noise from Na Yeon Choi (-4), Cristie Kerr (-4 through 12), Suzann Pettersen (-3), Angela Stanford (-3), Shanshan Feng (-3), Azahara Munoz (-3 through 12), Hee Kyung Seo (-2), Paula Creamer (-1), Brittany Lang (-1 through 12), Morgan Pressel (-1 through 10), or Lexi Thompson (-1 through 13), but there's plenty of time for them to make charges. Meanwhile, Karrie Webb and Tiffany Joh will need to make moves this afternoon just to make the cut, while Sandra Gal and Karen Stupples will need it to rise to +1 for them to be playing on the weekend.
Off to celebrate imoto's 6th birthday!