Yokomine had birdied 4 of her 1st 5 holes to get into the mix, then capped off her 31 on the front with a birdie on the 152-yard par-3 8th. But despite quickly losing her 2-shot lead to her playing partner, Morita played steady and error-free golf, matching Yokomine's birdie on the par-4 10th with her 3rd of the day on the par-5 11th to stay within 1 shot of the lead, then forcing Yokomine to respond when she birdied the par-4 17th and took a 1-shot lead of her own, thanks to an earlier Yokomine bogey on the par-3 13th and a string of pars ever since. When Yokomine birdied the final hole for a 66 and Morita failed to for a 68, we had ourselves a playoff in the JLPGA's 1st event of 2013. Be sure to check out Fairways and Forehands for pictures and video, along with full results.
Notable finishes include:
- a walkoff eagle from ex-LPGAer Onnarin Sattayabanphot to leap into a tie for 3rd with Ritsuko Ryu (who matched her 67), ex-LPGAer Soo Yun Kang (who matched Yokomine's opening 31 but bogeyed 2 of her last 4 holes to fall out of contention), veteran Junko Omote (who got it to -13 and a tie for the lead by birdieing 6 of her 1st 8 holes, but then proceeded to bogey 3 of her next 5 holes and fail to make a birdie the rest of the day), and Megumi Kido (who started the day in the lead but couldn't get anything going).
- a T8 from LPGAer Harukyo Nomura, who plays much better in Japan than elsewhere, thanks to a closing 68 that included 4 straight birdies to finish her tournament.
- T12s from Mika Miyazato (bogey-free 68) and Shiho Oyama (bogey-free 67), who need no introductions here.
- 66s from Eun-Bi Jang, Esther Lee, and Asuka Tsujimura and the last 67 of the day from Sun-Ju Ahn, who moved up to T21 with the likes of Mi-Jeong Jeon (68), Teresa Lu (68), Akane Iijima (68), Yuko Mitsuka (69), and Kumiko Kaneda (69).
- a 71-70-71 T32 finish from LPGA rookie Ayako Uehara, not the spark she needed as she heads to the States for the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.
Speaking of the LPGA, Mika Miyazato and Momoko Ueda are the only Japanese players to decide to skip next week's event (Nomura and Mitsuki Katahira don't fall high enough on the priority list to qualify). The player list hasn't been released yet for the next JLPGA event, the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup, nor has it been for the LPGA's Kia Classic, so it's unclear right now how they're planning to prepare for the LPGA's 1st major of 2013, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, in early April.