Saturday, August 9, 2014

Meiji Cup Friday and Saturday: Ji-Yai Shin Leads Star-Studded Chase Pack

Ji-Yai Shin has gone 70-66 in the 1st 2 rounds of the Meiji Cup to take a 1-shot lead on Teresa Lu, Misuzu Narita, and Erina Hara, a 2-shot lead on Yuri Fudoh, Rikako Morita, Bo-Mee Lee, and Miki Sakai, and a 3-shot lead on Ritsuko Ryu, Hikari Fujita, and Yoko Maeda.  Shin birdied 7 of her last 13 holes today to make up for a bogey on the par-3 2nd hole and stay ahead of Hara, whose bogey-free 66 matched Shin's for the low round of the week heading into the final round.

Hoping to match or outdo them tomorrow are Yumiko Yoshida and Na-Ri Lee at -4, Miki Saiki, Mamiko Higa, Saiki Fujita, and Mayu Hattori at -3, and Sakura Yokomine and Momoko Ueda at -2.  Many golfers will need to get into the low 60s to be a factor tomorrow, including Soo-Yun Kang, So-Hee Kim, and Phoebe Yao at -1, Mi Jeong Jeon and Ayaka Watanabe at E, Shiho Oyama and defending champion Da-Ye Ne at +1, and Young Kim and Natsuka Hori at +2.

No matter how far behind Shin they are, at least they have a chance to catch her tomorrow.  Missing the cut today were Ji-Hee Lee, Maiko Wakabayashi, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Asako Fujimoto, Akane Iijima, Mie Nakata, Yuki Sakurai, and Shinobu Moromizato.

We have an interesting showdown shaping up for the final round.  Fudoh, of course, has 50 JLPGA victories and has won over 1.3 billion yen in her legendary career, but her last win came in 2011.  Yokomine, who's 6 off the pace, needs just more than 20 million more yen to join Fudoh in the Billion Yen Club.  (Ueda, meanwhile, will pass Ai Miyazato on the career money list sometime this summer.)  Lee is going for her 8th career JLPGA victory and 2nd in a row.  Morita is also going for her 8th win on tour, while Narita's trying to become the 1st female 4-time winner of 2014 and match Shin with 6 career JLPGA victories.  Ryu and Lu are going for their 3rd wins (for Lu it would be her 2nd of the year), while Sakai's 2nd win of the year would also be of her career.  Hara's only previous JLPGA victory came back in 2008.  Meanwhile, 19-year-old Fujita and 29-year-old Maeda are looking for their breakthrough JLPGA wins.

So there's a lot at stake for a lot of golfers tomorrow.  Let's see who prevails!

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