Sunday, June 10, 2012

Suntory Ladies Open Overview: Amateur Hyo-Joo Kim Fires Final-Round 61 to Extend Non-Japanese Winner Streak on JLPGA to 6

With Mayu Hattori holding a 5-shot lead on veteran Mi-Jeong Jeon and amateur Hyo-Joo Kim heading into the final round of the Suntory Ladies Open, it looked like a sure thing that the JLPGA would celebrate its 1st Japanese winner since Chie Arimura took the Cyber Agent Ladies Cup in late April.  But Kim, already the only amateur to win on a major women's tour event in 2012, had other ideas.  The LOTTE Mart Ladies Open KLPGA champion fired a final-round bogey-free 61 to blast past Hattori and Jeon by 6 shots and hold off a charging Miki Saiki, who shot a 65 of her own on Sunday, by 4.

Amazingly, Kim is only ranked 9th in the R&A's World Amateur Golf Ranking, but she is already building a reputation for putting together dominating wins in big events.  She shot a 65 in the final round of the 2010 Queen Sirikit Cup team event to take individual honors in that team event by 8 shots.  The next year, she won the 15-to-17 girls division in the Callaway Junior World Championship by 5 shots.  Now, she's put together a dominating win on the 2nd-toughest professional tour in women's golf, beating the likes of Bo-Bae Song by 7 shots, Sakura Yokomine, Sun-Ju Ahn, and Soo-Yun Kang by 8, Ji-Hee Lee by 9, Ritsuko Ryu by 12, Bo-Mee Lee and Teresa Lu by 13, and Yuri Fudoh and Na-Ri Kim by 14.  What's next for Kim?  This kind of success on the LPGA?

[Update 1 (11:14 am):  bangkokbobby points out that Kim is now the youngest winner in JLPGA history at age 16!  Not bad!]

[Update 2 (11:37 pm):  Here's how the new JLPGA money list looks:

1. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥57.89M
2. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥44.79M
3. Ji-Hee Lee ¥44.03M
4. Miki Saiki ¥40.66M
5. Ritsuko Ryu ¥38.98M
6. Bo-Mee Lee ¥30.72M
7. Inbee Park ¥28.27M
8. Mayu Hattori ¥28.12M
9. Sakura Yokomine ¥26.88M
10. Hiromi Mogi ¥24.87M
11. Shanshan Feng ¥24.28M
12. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥22.88M
13. Mihoko Iseri ¥21.21M
14. Soo-Yun Kang ¥20.96M
15. Chie Arimura ¥20.86M
16. Kaori Ohe ¥19.61M
17. Rikako Morita ¥19.36M
18. Yuki Ichinose ¥17.04M
19. Yukari Baba ¥15.44M
20. Airi Saitoh ¥15.25M
21. Ayako Uehara ¥13.93M
22. Ji-Yai Shin ¥13.88M
23. Akane Iijima ¥13.45M
24. Teresa Lu ¥12.69M
25. Shinobu Moromizato ¥11.48M
26. Erina Hara ¥10.69M
27. Miki Sakai ¥10.64M
28. Erika Kikuchi ¥10.51M
29. Bo-Bae Song ¥9.88M
30. Yumiko Yoshida ¥9.87M
31. Yuko Fukuda ¥9.71M
32. Esther Lee ¥9.56M
33. Rui Kitada ¥9.05M
34. Na-Ri Lee¥8.91M
35. Kumiko Kaneda ¥8.87M
36. So-Hee Kim ¥8.73M
37. Harukyo Nomura ¥8.04M
38. Yuri Fudoh ¥7.96M
39. Da-Ye Na ¥7.89M
40. Na-Ri Kim ¥7.69M
41. Li-Ying Ye ¥7.68M
42. Young Kim¥7.22M
43. Nikki Campbell ¥6.90M
44. Eun-Bi Jang¥6.35M
45. Yuko Mitsuka ¥6.32M
46. Megumi Kido ¥6.31M
47. Asako Fujimoto ¥5.79M
48. Nozomi Inoue ¥5.21M
49. Shiho Toyonaga¥5.18M
50. Saiki Fujita ¥5.00M

I don't think Shanshan Feng will mind getting bumped out the top 10 this week, what with her history-making win at the Wegmans LPGA Championship and all!  Next week on the JLPGA is the Nichirei Ladies, where Shiho Oyama will be rejoining the tour's finest and Ji-Hee Lee will attempt to defend her title!]

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