Friday, November 27, 2009

Ricoh Cup Friday: Ueda Leads; Money List Race Tightens Up

Momoko Ueda moved from a share of the lead yesterday to solo leader today at -5 in the Ricoh Cup after playing her last 10 bogey-free holes in -3. Her 70 was good enough to maintain a 1-stroke lead on Sakura Yokomine, who made 5 birdies but suffered a pair of consecutive bogeys, 1 on each side, and Yukari Baba, who shot a bogey-free 68 that included an eagle on the long par-5 2nd hole. Meanwhile, the race for money-list queen tightened up, as Shinobu Moromizato shot a 5-birdie 69 and Chie Arimura a 4-birdie 70 to pull within 2 and 3 shots of Yokomine, respectively, at the halfway point. My fave Ai Miyazato was -4 through 11 holes, with a great chance to top the low rounds of the day from Baba and Mayu Hattori, but suffered a walkoff bogey for the 2nd day in a row. Still, she joins Arimura among a big group only 4 shots off the lead:

1st/-5 Momoko Ueda (69-70)
T2/-4 Yukari Baba (72-68), Sakura Yokomine (69-71)
T4/-2 Shinobu Moromizato (73-69), Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-70), Ji-Hee Lee (72-70), Miho Koga (71-71)
T8/-1 Mayu Hattori (75-68), Ai Miyazato (74-69), Akane Iijima (74-69), Chie Arimura (73-70), Eun-A Lim (70-73)

13th/E Bo-Bae Song (73-71)
14th/+1 Miki Saiki (74-71)
15th/+2 Nikki Campbell (73-73)
T16/+3 Ayako Uehara (72-75), Tamie Durdin (72-75)
T18/+4 Rui Kitada (76-72), Ah-Reum Hwang (72-76)
20th/+5 Yuko Saitoh (77-72)
T21/+6 Akiko Fukushima (76-74), Erina Hara (70-80)
23rd/+11 Yuri Fudoh (78-77)

It's not boding well for the Kyoraku Cup that all the members of Team Korea from the JLPGA are in the top half of the field, while a good number of the members of Team Japan are in the basement. Still, there's a lot of golf yet to be played in the JLPGA's final event and final major of 2009. With more than half the field within 5 shots of the lead, anything can happen!

[Update 1 (3:45 am): Ai-sama had better get it going this weekend or she's going to get overshadowed by her brothers, one of whom is tied with JGTO money-list leader Ryo Ishikawa and PGA regular Shingo Katayama at -10, 2 shots behind Shigeki Maruyama and defending champion Koumei Oda in this week's Japan Tour event. The men's money-list race is almost as tight as the women's, with Yuta Ikeda less than 2 million yen behind Ryo-kun, but he trails the 18-year-old by 5 shots heading into the weekend.]

[Update 2 (3:52 am): Tomorrow's Ricoh Cup pairings are awesome. Baba and Ueda will be in the final group, preceded by Yokomine and Moromizato (a reprise of Thursday's pairing!), then Jeon and Lee, Koga and Hattori, and Miyazato and Iijima! That's everyone who broke 70 today, with everybody in these groups having gone under par.]

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