The pairings for the 1st round of the Hisako Higuchi Morinaga Weider Ladies have been released and the visitors from the LPGA have some tough competition ahead of them. Ji-Yai Shin and Momoko Ueda play with JLPGA living legend Yuri Fudoh, Mika Miyazato plays with perennial powerhouses Sakura Yokomine and Mi-Jeong Jeon, while Shanshan Feng has the comparatively easier task of playing with young guns Natsuka Hori and Asako Fujimoto.
Other interesting pairings include the trio of money-list leader Rikako Morita, last year's money-list runner-up Bo-Mee Lee, and young gun Megumi Kido, former money-list leader Sun-Ju Ahn with tough veterans Miki Saiki and Yukari Baba, and up-and-comers Erika Kikuchi/Yuki Ichinose/Erina Hara, Mamiko Higa/Misuzu Narita/Yumiko Yoshida, and Ritsuko Ryu/Mayu Hattori/Rui Kitada.
Mi-Jeong Jeon is defending champion and a 3-time winner of this tournament honoring Asia's 1st female winner of an LPGA major, but she's not the only big name on the list of past champions. Ai Miyazato, Akiko Fukushima, Chie Arimura, Miho Koga, Rikako Morita, and Mayu Hattori have all won in Chiba in the past decade, while Annika Sorenstam won in 1997.
Can't wait to see who the 2013 winner will be!