Sunday, August 12, 2012

NEC Karuizawa 72 Ladies Sunday: Yumiko Yoshida Catches Eun-Bi Jang on 54th Hole, Wins Playoff for 1st JLPGA Victory

Eun-Bi Jang had a great chance to make the NEC Karuizawa 72 Ladies her 1st JLPGA win as she stood on the final tee of the tournament.  Despite a bogey-free 67 by Yumiko Yoshida, capped off by a birdie on the 385-yard par-4 18th that got her to -11 and dropped Jang's lead to 1, the relatively unheralded KLPGA transplant just needed a par to seal the deal.  Having made 5 birdies in her 1st 10 holes and not made a bogey in her previous 45 holes, Jang was in a great position to do it.  But when she hit her approach into the rough and failed to get up and down, she opened the door for the 25-year-old from Kanagawa.  And when Yoshida walked through it with a 7-foot birdie putt on the 6th playoff hole, she turned out to be the golfer celebrating her 1st career JLPGA win.

So in the end it came down to the "rebel alliance" that I blogged about yesterday, as the JLPGA's big names either got off to slow starts or were too far back to get into contention.  Still, the leaderboard ended up packed with the JLPGA's finest.  Living legend Yuri Fudoh ended up 2 shots out of the playoff, Sakura Yokomine, Sun-Ju Ahn, and Harukyo Nomura closed with 33s to catch Junko Omote at -8, Rikako Morita fired a bogey-free 66 to catch money-list leader Mi-Jeong Jeon and a host of others (including ex-LPGAer Teresa Lu) another shot back, and Ritsuko Ryu caught Bo-Mee Lee, Miki Saiki, Kumiko Kaneda, and Na-Ri Kim at -6 to secure a top-20 finish.  Chie Arimura had to settle for a T21 another shot away from the playoff duo.

With her win, Yoshida cracked the top 15 on the JLPGA money list for the 1st time in her career

1. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥80.46M
2. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥61.88M
3. Mayu Hattori ¥55.34M
4. Ritsuko Ryu ¥51.72M
5. Chie Arimura ¥51.45M
6. Miki Saiki ¥50.21M
7. Ji-Hee Lee ¥45.57M
8. Sakura Yokomine ¥40.60M
9. Shanshan Feng ¥40.48M
10. Bo-Mee Lee ¥40.20M
11. Rikako Morita ¥34.78M
12. Inbee Park ¥29.62M
13. Hiromi Mogi ¥29.05M
14. Yumiko Yoshida ¥28.94M
15. Soo-Yun Kang ¥28.10M
16. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥27.77M
17. Yuri Fudoh ¥26.69M
18. Mihoko Iseri ¥26.25M
19. Kaori Ohe ¥24.10M
20. Megumi Kido ¥22.44M
21. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥21.12M
22. Shinobu Moromizato ¥20.35M
23. Yuki Ichinose ¥20.24M
24. Esther Lee ¥19.75M
25. Erina Hara ¥18.30M
26. Ji-Yai Shin ¥17.78M
27. Ayako Uehara ¥17.53M
28. Yukari Baba ¥16.48M
29. Airi Saitoh ¥16.37M
30. Teresa Lu ¥16.01M
31. Bo-Bae Song ¥15.63M
32. Akane Iijima ¥15.59M
33. Eun-Bi Jang ¥15.54M
34. Erika Kikuchi ¥15.49M
35. So-Hee Kim ¥15.34M
36. Na-Ri Lee¥15.32M
37. Young Kim¥15.02M
38. Rui Kitada ¥14.90M
39. Miki Sakai ¥14.10M
40. Harukyo Nomura ¥14.04M
41. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥13.50M
42. Na-Ri Kim ¥13.25M
43. Yuko Fukuda ¥12.19M
44. Junko Omote¥11.60M
45. Kumiko Kaneda ¥11.38M
46. Da-Ye Na ¥10.59M
47. Asako Fujimoto¥9.45M
48. Li-Ying Ye ¥8.92M
49. Natsu Nagai ¥8.58M
50. Nikki Campbell ¥8.54M

Next up for the JLPGA is the CAT Ladies, where Chie Arimura will attempt to defend her title in Hakone.  From the field list, it doesn't look like there will be any surprise appearances by any dual LPGA-JLPGA members, except for Harukyo Nomura, who's probably looking to secure her place well within the top 50 (thus guaranteeing her a card for next season) before returning to the LPGA.  And with Sun-Ju Ahn apparently sitting this one out, the race for #2 is wide open.  Should be good!

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