Thursday, November 26, 2009

JLPGA Q-School 3rd Stage Thursday: Arai on the Bubble; All Other Name Players Moving on to the Final Qualifying Tournament

The results are in from the JLPGA 3rd-stage Q-School event in Tochigi prefecture. Tadashi Megumi Lu is your medalist at -6, followed by Bong Su Tseng at -5. The players I've been tracking didn't shoot the lights out, but they hung in there and will be moving on to the Final Qualifying Tournament next week:

9th/E Jae Bae (73-71-72)
10th/-1 Young Kim (70-73-73)
20th/+3 Na Ri Kim (74-74-71)
31st/+5 Sakurako Mori (75-75-71)

Nobody finished particularly strongly--Mori and Na Ri Kim were +2 over their final 4 holes, while Bae and Young Kim bogeyed the long par-4 17th. But it doesn't matter how you get to the 72-hole final stage--just that you did.

Meanwhile, in Mie prefecture, scoring remained lower, as Izumi Narita took medalist honors at -11. And the notables scored a little better there, as well, with the exception of 1 player:

6th/-3 Onnarin Sattayabanphot (72-71-70)
9th/-2 Sun Ju Ahn (73-72-69)
16th/+1 Teresa Lu (74-71-72)
19th/+2 Yuki Sakurai (75-74-69)
24th/+3 Ritsuko Ryu (71-75-73)
44th/+8 Mai Arai (80-70-74)

Arai made 5 birdies today but finished +2 over her last 7 holes. Here's hoping her walkoff bogey doesn't come back to haunt her; she would have moved up to 39th place and off the bubble if she could just have parred the 18th hole.

My gut feeling right now is that she's still going to fall on the right side of the cut line, as I'm aware of only 4 possible LPGA and LET players who may be filling out the 102-player field in the last stage next week--Candie Kung, Seon Hwa Lee, Inbee Park, and Amy Yang--and 5 JLPGAers--Mika Takushima, Yayoi Arasaki, Mayumi Nakajima, Kumiko Kaneda, and Ikue Asama--who came in #51 to #55 on the JLPGA money list. Where the cut line will actually fall depends on how many Category A JLPGA members who finished in the top 50 in last year's Final Qualifying Tournament choose to enter this year's. And whether the JLPGA gives anyone else a special exemption into it--although if their translation can be trusted, these players would be added to the field rather than knocking anyone else out. It's going to come down to the wire. Assuming the 9 golfers I named actually play next week, if there are more than 5 of these category 3 players in the field, Arai will have played her way onto the alternate list. And if it's a much bigger number than that, then even Mori, too, may be in trouble.

I'll let you know who's in and who's out when I find out.

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