Some golfers like to rest and do extra prep before majors; others like to keep their competitive juices flowing and try to build some momentum the week before. With the LPGA/LET major the Evian Championship and the JLPGA major the Konica Minolta Cup (also known as the LPGA Championship in Japan) both starting next Thursday, some players had to make tough choices. Chie Arimura, for instance, chose to defend her 2012 title and return to the JLPGA this week. By contrast, fellow LPGA rookie Ayako Uehara, who had been playing on the JLPGA for several weeks, decided to accept the invitation to Evian, along with Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, and Momoko Ueda. None of them are playing this week, however. Nor are such luminaries as Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, Na Yeon Choi, Karrie Webb, Shanshan Feng, Catriona Matthew, Paula Creamer, Ji-Yai Shin, Cristie Kerr, or Ya Ni Tseng.
Which means it's a perfect week for those who are playing to make some serious waves. And some of the top golfers in the world are taking advantage of their opportunities.
Over in Hokkaido on the JLPGA, Sun-Ju Ahn remains tied for the lead in the Golf5 Ladies, this time with veteran Miki Saiki and youngster Yumiko Yoshida. Ahn's 3-birdie 70 got her to -7, 1 shot ahead of Yuko Mitsuka (66), Shiho Oyama (67), and Miki Sakai (67), 2 shots ahead of Na-Ri Lee (72) and Yun-Jye Wei (72), 3 shots ahead of Kaori Nakamura (67), Sakura Yokomine (69), and Kaori Ohe (69), and 4 shots ahead of Mamiko Higa (68), Bo-Bae Song (68), Da-Ye Na (72), Yukari Baba (73), and Onnarin Sattayabanphot (73). If Ahn can hold off this mix of vets and kids, she'll take a 3-event winning streak into the Konica Minolta Cup and will have successfully defended her 2nd title in a row. Let's see if she can pull it off! With money-list leader Rikako Morita and her closest pursuer Natsuka Hori both missing the cut, there's a great chance for Ahn, Saiki, Yoshida and others to move into the 2nd spot on the JLPGA money list and make up some serious ground on Morita in the process.
On the KLPGA, another dominant Korean golfer is also looking to defend her title. So Yeon Ryu was the only golfer in the field of the Hanwha Classic to break 70 on moving day, vaulting her into a 4-shot lead. The course they're playing is highly penal, so Jeong Jang, Mindy Kim, Jennifer Song, and Mi Hyang Lee are already headed to the French Alps. Check out Seoul Sisters.com for more updates and photos.
And over in Sweden on the LET, Caroline Hedwall just keeps rolling along. She's already -10 with 2 holes left to play on moving day at the Helsingborg Open. Currently, that gives her a 4-shot lead on In-Kyung Kim, LET money-list leader Lee-Anne Pace, and Valentine Derrey, all of whom have 3 holes to go. With the likes of Melissa Reid, Sophie Gustafson, and Christina Kim missing the cut and also taking early trips to Evian, and Anna Nordqvist and Maria Hjorth playing solid golf, there are plenty of Evian-bound golfers to track heading into tomorrow's final round.
Let's see who can make a statement on the eve of 2 majors!
[Update 1 (11:13 am): Ouch! Inky stumbled home with a birdieless 41 on the back that dropped her to -4 overall, 6 shots behind Hedwall.]