Saturday, June 1, 2013

Resort Trust Ladies Set-Up: The Kids Are Alright

KLPGA superstar Bo-Mee Lee shared the 1st-round lead with Maiko Wakabayashi at the Resort Trust Ladies on the strength of a 7-birdie 66, but after birdieing her 1st hole today she fell apart with 2 doubles and 2 bogeys over her final 13 holes, dropping all the way to -1 and opening the door for a pair of young Japanese rising stars.  Walking right through it were 19-year-old Okinawa native Mamiko Higa and 23-year-old Megumi Kido, who fired a bogey-free 67 and 68, respectively, to take the lead at -7.

20-year-old Taiwan native Phoebe Yao got into the act, as well, bouncing back from back-to-back bogeys to start her round with 6 birdies over her last 14 holes to move to -6 for the week.  Wakabayashi, meanwhile, bogeyed 15, 16, and 17 to fall back to -5, where she was caught by 2 veterans, recent money-list leader Miki Saiki and Yayoi Arasaki.  Current money-list leader Rikako Morita bounced back from a bad opening round with a 7-birdie 66 of her own that brought her to -4 with fellow youngsters Mayu Hattori and Yuki Ichinose, along with mid-career types like Yumiko Yoshida, Megumi Shimokawa, and Mihoko Iseri, as well as veteran Junko Omote.

With Mi-Jeong Jeon withdrawing, Harukyo Nomura and Tamie Durdin missing the cut, Ji-Hee Lee barely making it at +2, Shinobu Moromizato doing hardly any better at +1, and Yuko Mitsuka, Ritsuko Ryu, and Yukari Baba tied with Lee at -1, the only name players with a chance to charge into contention tomorrow are Sakura Yokomine, Hyun-Ju Shin, Akane Iijima, and Erina Hara at -2 and youngsters Erika Kikuchi, Miki Sakai, and Satsuki Oshiro (whose best career finish on the JLPGA came here in 2011) at -3.

Higa and Kido each have 1 JLPGA victory to her name, but haven't been consistently near the top of the leaderboard this season, so it'll be interesting to see how they handle being paired with Yao tomorrow--and how all 3 young guns deal with having Morita chasing them from 2 groups ahead and Saiki from the group right before them!

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