Mi-Jeong Jeon, the money-list leader on the JLPGA, is in a great position to win the Nichi-Iko Ladies Open today, and if she does, she's likely to move into the top 25 in the Rolex Rankings, thereby earning a spot into the U.S. Women's Open. She holds a 2-shot lead on Erina Hara as they enter the home stretch, while 2nd-round co-leader Miki Saiki has fallen 4 shots off the pace and other top golfers who had a chance to win at the start of the final round--like Akiko Fukushima, Sun-Ju Ahn, Bo-Mee Lee--have fallen even further. If Jeon can shake off a bogey on the par-4 13th and keep Hara from making up ground on the 2 par 5s (the 1st of which Hara has already parred), 2 par 4s, and 1 par 3 she has left to play she'll have to decide whether to travel to the States for the biggest tournament in women's golf of the year here. Already, alternates Kyung Kim (newly-crowned WAPL champion) and Allison Lee have made it into the field, as Ji-Yai Shin (injury) and Sun-Ju Ahn (focusing on the JLPGA while in a mini-slump) have decided not to play at Blackwolf Run. So if Jeon doesn't win or if she wins and turns down the invitation, another alternate will get into the Open field next week.
[Update 1 (2:36 pm): Jeon did it! Hara birdied 2 of her last 5 holes, but Jeon birdied the 14th and parred in. Now we'll see if she makes it into the top 25 and if so, whether she accepts the invitation.]