Saturday, August 4, 2012

Meiji Cup Setup: Sun-Ju Ahn's Saturday 67 Gives Her Shot at 1st JLPGA Win since May

Sun-Ju Ahn fired a bogey-free 67 today to get to -6 overall and take a 2-shot lead over Chie Arimura, Shinobu Moromizato, and Young Kim heading into the final round of the Meiji Cup.  Ahn is gunning for her 1st JLPGA win since the 1st week of May at the Salonpas Cup, but she's going to have to keep the pedal to the metal to get it tomorrow.  Defending champion Shanshan Feng is only 4 shots back after a bogey-free 34 to close out her moving day round (as is Mayu Hattori, who's #2 on the JLPGA money list), while KLPGA star Bo-Mee Lee is 3 behind after making 4 birdies and no bogeys over her final 10 holes today.  With money-list leader Mi-Jeong Jeon stuck at T30, 8 shots off Ahn's pace (along with Sakura Yokomine, Shiho Oyama, Soo-Yun Kang, and Nikki Campbell), this is a great opportunity for the JLPGA's leading money winner in the last 2 seasons to make up some serious ground on her rival.

Sunday also represents a big opportunity for a bunch of young Japanese up-and-comers, including amateur Hikari Fujita (72, -3), ex-LET member Yuki Sakurai (73, -3), 22-year-old Rikako Morita (73, -1), 22-year-old Kumiko Kaneda (74, -1), 24-year-old Maiko Wakabayashi (71, -1), and 25-year-old Yumiko Yoshida (70, -1).  Moving day was harsher on other youngsters, including Ritsuko Ryu (#4 on the money list) and Harukyo Nomura, who fell 7 off the pace, but at least they'll be playing tomorrow.  Megumi Kido, winner of the last JLPGA event, missed the cut, as did Akane Iijima, Teresa Lu, Yukari Baba, and Yuko Mitsuka (among many others).

But all eyes will be on the last 3 threesomes tomorrow.  Ahn is paired with Moromizato and Kim, while Arimura, Bo-Mee Lee, and Esther Lee will be right ahead of them and Feng, Sakurai, and Fujita will precede them.  Should be an exciting finish!

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