Saturday, September 20, 2014

Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic Saturday: 22-Year-Old Mami Fukuda Vaults into Lead with 29 on Back

22-year-old Mami Fukuda took a ride on the birdie train for 6 holes and capped it off with another on the 18th hole to post a 29 on the back 9 and a 64 for the day.  That run was just enough to move her into 1st place at the Munsingwear Ladies Tokai Classic at -10 through 36 holes.  Fukuda charged past Ji-Yai Shin, whose 7-birdie 67 seemed merely mortal, and Na-Ri Kim, whose bogey-free 68 was, you know, just fine by comparison.  And she held off Onnarin Sattayabanphot, whose bogey-free 63 was sparked by an eagle on the 493-yard par-5 5th and also included a 31 on the back.

Fukuda leads Shin, Kim, and Sattayabanphot by 1, Misuzu Narita and 1st-round leader Rui Kitada by 2, and Na-Ri Lee by 3 heading into tomorrow's final round.  Also in this are Momoko Ueda (4 back after going 69-69), Ai Suzuki (5 back after a 71-68 start), and perhaps even Mi-Jeong Jeon (70-70), Sakura Yokomine (70-71), Mamiko Higa (71-71), and Miki Saiki (70-73).  Missing the cut, however, was last year's money-list leader Rikako Morita, so not all the big names in the field will be in the mix.

We're not quite getting the free-for-all we anticipated between the top 4 players on the JLPGA, but #4 Shin leads #3 Narita by a shot with 18 holes left to play, so there's plenty of time for a showdown to emerge.  Fukuda, meanwhile, has a great chance for her 1st win on tour and 1st top 10 since the KKT Cup Vantelin Ladies back in April (which 15-year-old Minami Katsu won).  She had 4 top 10s in her 1st 7 starts this season, including a career-best finish of T3 at the T-Point Ladies, but has had only 1 top 20 and 3 top 25s in her last 18 starts, with 5 missed cuts in that run.  Maybe we'll see David take on a pair of JLPGA goliaths tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

What was the reason Lee, Ahn, and Lu are not playing this week?

Is Michelle Wie in danger of not having enough rounds to qualify for the Vare Trophy? I remember Jiyai Shin having a similar issue the season she was hurt. Wie is currently in second place with a scoring average .244 behind Stacy Lewis. Lots of events with a realistic chance of going low in the Asian swing.

You can answer these questions in a later blog post.

By my calculations, Wie will need to play either 29 or 30 of the remaining 31 rounds after this week. (70% of the 125 total rounds this season is 87.5 rounds. Will the LPGA round that down to 87?)

Sports medic

The Constructivist said...

No reason's been given that I can find for the no-starts by 3 of the top 10 on the JLPGA.

I don't think Wie has a chance to win the Vare, whether because of not getting enough rounds in or because of inability to score while playing hurt. The last thing she should do is rush her comeback for short-term competition. If she learned anything from her woes when she tried to come back too fast from her wrist injury, it's not to jeopardize her game or her confidence or her career. I wouldn't be surprised if she skipped Asia altogether, as hard as that would be.