Saturday, July 19, 2014

Samantha Thavasa Ladies Saturday: Na-Ri Lee Shoots 2nd-Straight 66 to lead Misuzu Narita by 1

Na-Ri Lee fired her 2nd-straight 66, this one a bogey-free round with 3 birdies on each side, to take a 1-shot lead at the Samantha Thavasa Ladies on Misuzu Narita, who opened with 5 birdies in her 1st 8 holes but parred out the rest of the way for a 67.  Right behind them is 22-year-old Hiroko Azuma, who's made only 4 cuts all season but shot her 2nd-straight 67 to get to double digits under par.

And then there are 3 players at -9 (including Ji-Yai Shin and Esther Lee, who have both won on the JLPGA this year), 6 at -8 (including 6-time winner Rui Kitada), 5 at -7 (including 9-time winner Shinobu Moromizato and 4-time winner Yumiko Yoshida), and 11 at -6 (including Ji-Hee Lee, Natsuka Hori, and amateur Haruka Morita).  So it's really still anyone's tournament.

But if Lee and Narita do separate themselves from the field, it would make for an interesting duel.  Lee won twice last year but started 2014 with 5-straight missed cuts.  She's bounced back in recent months, however, with 4 top 10s and 6 top 20s in her last 7 starts.  Narita, meanwhile, has 2 victories in her last 8 starts, bringing the 22-year-old's career total on tour already to 4.  If Narita could prevail, she could move to #2 on the JLPGA money list!

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