26-year-old Sun-Ju Ahn has 15 JLPGA victories to her name while 21-year-old Haruka Kudo can boast of a best finish this year in T15, but they're tied for the 54-hole lead at the Suntory Ladies. At -8, they're 2 shots ahead of Momoko Ueda, Na-Ri Lee, and Akane Iijima, 3 shots ahead of Ji-Hee Lee, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Kaori Ohe, and amateur Haruka Morita, and 5 shots ahead of Erina Hara, Ai Suzuki, Hikari Fujita, and Yukari Nishiyama. With the likes of Yuri Fudoh, Shiho Oyama, Miki Saiki, and Yukari Baba at -2, all those ahead of them can't rest easy, either.
Particularly given the volatility of scoring this week. After all, Oyama and 15-year-old amateur Minami Katsu both shot 66s on Friday, the low rounds of the week thus far, but Katsu followed up her 66 with a 77 to fall to E, tied at 26th with Ji-Yai Shin, while Oyama's 74 shows that even veterans can have trouble following up really good days. Rikako Morita, one of a large JLPGA contingent playing in the U.S. Women's Open next week, missed the cut this week with consistently mediocre rounds, but fellow young guns Ritsuko Ryu (71-79) and Erika Kikuchi (71-77) were all over the place, with the same results. And amateur Shoko Sasaki went 69-70-80 to drop out of contention, while Shinobu Moromizato's 81 and Bo-Mee Lee's and Mi-Jeong Jeon's 78s today dropped them even lower down the leaderboard.
So if Ahn, Lee, and Sattayabanphot can fire their 3rd round of the week in the 60s tomorrow, odds are the tournament will come down to the 3 of them. But if they don't and other players put together their own 2nd sub-70 rounds of the week, it would be a wild and wooly Sunday finish in Hyogo!