Sunday, April 6, 2014

Yamaha Ladies Sunday: Sun-Ju Ahn Holds On for 14th JLPGA Victory

The revolving door at the top of the leaderboard at the Yamaha Ladies kept turning today, and the player who ended up inside the winner's circle was 26-year-old Sun-Ju Ahn.  The former KLPGA star caught Yumiko Yoshida at -6 with a birdie on the par-3 7th and held the lead alone when Yoshida bogeyed the par-4 9th, but only for 6 holes, until she bogeyed the long par-4 16th.  Ahn and Yoshida came to the final hole tied at -5, but only Ahn parred the 527-yard par 5.  When Yoshida bogeyed it, Ahn had held on for her 14th career JLPGA victory.

It was a tough day for Ahn's fellow Seoul Sisters on the JLPGA, as Hyo-Joo Kim bogeyed 6 of her 1st 14 holes and barely hung on for a 10th-place finish, while Bo-Mee Lee was +5 through her 1st 12 holes and ended up in a tie for 8th with Rikako Morita at +1.  Still, Esther Lee rode a bogey-free 32 to solo 6th at -1, so I'd say the South Korean contingent on tour had a pretty good week.  It was also a good week to be 26, Erina Hara and Ritsuko Ryu tied for 3rd with 31-year-old Yukari Baba at -2.  But the Japanese youth movement wasn't completely shut out, as Kaori Ohe birdied 3 of her last 7 holes the day after her 24th birthday and Asako Fujimoto caught 28-year-old Saiki Fujita in 11th.

With her win, Ahn leaped from #15 to #2 on the 2014 JLPGA money list:

1. Onnarin Sattayabanphot ¥24.84M

2. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥24.49M
3. Rikako Morita ¥23.17M
4. Ayaka Watanabe ¥21.83M
5. Erina Hara ¥18.35M
6. Yuki Ichinose ¥15.66M
7. Bo-Mee Lee ¥14.64M
8. Saiki Fujita ¥12.13M
9. Ritsuko Ryu ¥11.03M
10. Yumiko Yoshida ¥10.37M
11. Asako Fujimoto ¥10.19M
12. Miki Sakai ¥9.65M
13. Mami Fukuda ¥9.53M
14. Yukari Baba ¥8.59M
15. Ji-Yai Shin ¥8.04M
16. Esther Lee ¥6.95M
17. Bo-Bae Song ¥6.91M
18. Airi Saitoh ¥6.90M
19. Mamiko Higa ¥6.88M
20. Rui Kitada ¥6.69M

Next up is the Studio Alice Ladies, which former LPGAer Na-Ri Kim won last year.  Ji-Yai Shin is scheduled to return to the JLPGA after playing well through 54 holes at the Kraft Nabisco Championship (even though Sakura Yokomine and Bo-Bae Song decided to take a week off after travelling across the Pacific for the LPGA's 1st major), while Momoko Ueda gets another chance to reset her career after missing the cut this week.  Most important, the top 4 players on tour in 2014 get another chance to face off.  Let's see how they do and who can challenge them!

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