Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open Overview: Ji-Hee Lee Becomes 1st 2-Time JLPGA Winner in 2012

Ji-Hee Lee became the JLPGA's 1st 2-time winner of 2012 today at the Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open and she did it in style, birdieing 6 of her last 10 holes to secure a 3-shot victory over a charging Rikako Morita, who birdied 7 of her last 13 holes, and leave 4 shots behind her her fellow Korean veteran on tour Mi-Jeong Jeon, who had to settle for a bogey-free 68 that included an eagle on the 382-yard 14th.  For both Morita and Jeon, it was too little, too late, to deny Lee her 17th career JLPGA win.  Even though they broke 70 all 3 rounds, they couldn't match Lee's 68-65-67 weeklong birdie barrage.  It was the same story for defending champion Harukyo Nomura, who was stuck at E after 36 holes but jumped into the top 6 after firing the low round of the week, a bogey-free 64, today.

As for the rest of the big names in the field to make the cut, it's not like they played badly.  Ritsuko Ryu had another top 5 but finished 7 shots behind Lee, Sun-Ju Ahn and Miki Saiki tied Nomura for 6th at -8 (8 off the pace), Chie Arimura was another shot back in a tie for 9th with Mayu Hattori, Erina Hara, and amateur sensation Mamiko Higa, Maiko Wakabayashi snagged a top 15, and Momoko Ueda a top 20.  At least they didn't have to withdraw like Shinobu Moromizato (ribs), Akane Iijima (right wrist), and Ah-Reum Hwang (right wrist), or sit out Sunday like Teresa Lu and Ayako Uehara (+5) and Kumiko Kaneda and Esther Lee (+4).  But, still, they lost a lot of ground to Lee on the JLPGA money list:

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥40.05M
2. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥38.03M
3. Ji-Hee Lee ¥35.23M
4. Ritsuko Ryu ¥29.49M
5. Inbee Park ¥28.27M
6. Bo-Mee Lee ¥25.60M
7. Hiromi Mogi ¥22.31M
8. Sakura Yokomine ¥21.12M
9. Mayu Hattori ¥20.46M
10. Miki Saiki ¥20.35M
11. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥20.18M
12. Chie Arimura ¥20.12M
13. Kaori Ohe ¥19.26M
14. Rikako Morita ¥17.08M
15. Airi Saitoh ¥15.02M
16. Mihoko Iseri ¥14.30M
17. Ji-Yai Shin ¥13.88M
18. Soo-Yun Kang ¥13.54M
19. Shanshan Feng ¥13.48M
20. Ayako Uehara ¥13.47M
21. Akane Iijima ¥13.45M
22. Erina Hara ¥10.69M
23. Yuki Ichinose ¥9.52M
24. Yumiko Yoshida ¥9.41M
25. Erika Kikuchi ¥9.10M
26. Miki Sakai ¥8.93M
27. Yuko Fukuda ¥8.89M
28. Kumiko Kaneda ¥8.87M
29. Teresa Lu ¥8.77M
30. Esther Lee ¥8.07M
31. Harukyo Nomura ¥8.04M
32. Shinobu Moromizato ¥7.95M
33. Na-Ri Lee¥7.72M
34. Li-Ying Ye ¥7.32M
35. Rui Kitada ¥6.91M
36. So-Hee Kim ¥6.52M
37. Yuri Fudoh ¥6.37M
38. Yuko Mitsuka ¥6.32M
39. Young Kim¥6.08M
40. Da-Ye Na ¥5.89M
41. Yukari Baba ¥5.85M
42. Na-Ri Kim ¥5.81M
43. Eun-Bi Jang¥5.42M
44. Asako Fujimoto ¥5.23M
45. Megumi Kido ¥4.86M
46. Nachiyo Ohtani ¥4.61M
47. Hiroko Fukushima ¥4.22M
48. Bo-Bae Song ¥4.20M
49. Saiki Fujita ¥4.10M
50. Yuko Saitoh ¥4.04M

On deck is the Yonex Ladies, which Hiromi Mogi won last year.  The field is packed, with Yuri Fudoh, Sakura Yokomine, Shiho Oyama, and Bo-Mee Lee returning to action, along with--if the current list is to be believed--Shanshan Feng!  With Jeon and Ji-Hee Lee sitting this one out, it's a great opportunity for Ahn to extend her money-list lead on them.  Let's see if she can take advantage and join Lee as a 2-time winner on tour this year....

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