Sunday, June 13, 2010

Suntory Ladies Open Sunday: Iijima Outlasts Campbell and Baba

Akane Iijima entered the final round of the Suntory Ladies Open 1 shot behind Yukari Baba and 3 shots ahead of Nikki Campbell, but for awhile it looked like the eventual winner wouldn't be a factor in the final round.

Defending champion Shinobu Moromizato, who had been in the running for the JLPGA money list lead right up to the last 9 of the last tournament of last season, birdied her 1st 3 holes to get to -2. Campbell birdied the 1st, 10th, and 11th to climb to -3. And even though Baba had opened with a birdieless 39, she birdied the 10th to climb back to -2. Meanwhile, Iijima followed up an opening birdie with 3 bogeys in a row midway through the front and capped her slide off with a bogey on the 9th to drop back to E, tied with Ayako Uehara, who had struggled to a 37 on the front.

But then the tide started turning. Uehara, who had bogeyed the 6th and 9th, also bogeyed the 10th and 11th to drop out of contention. Moromizato doubled the 514-yard par-5 12th to fall back to E and out of contention. Her playing partner Campbell then bogeyed the 370-yard par-4 13th to return to -2. Meanwhile, Iijima was getting on a roll, with birdies on 10, 12, and 15. And when her playing partner Baba followed up her birdie on the 14th with a bogey on the 15th, Iijima all of a sudden had the lead. Not for long, though, as Campbell, playing 2 groups ahead of them, birdied the 164-yard par-3 17th to catch her at -3.

Then things got interesting. As Baba and Iijima were parring 16 and 17, Campbell was butchering the 416-yard par-4 18th. She ended up with a double that dropped her back to -1, in the end only 1 shot ahead of Moromizato. So it came down to Iijima vs. Baba on the tough 18th. When each 3-putted for bogey, the title was Iijima's--her 5th on the JLPGA.

Here's how the leaderboard looked when all the dust settled:

1st/-2 Akane Iijima (71-70-72-73)
T2/-1 Nikki Campbell (71-71-74-71), Yukari Baba (70-72-70-75)
4th/E Shinobu Moromizato (71-72-74-71)
T5/+1 Ji-Woo Lee (73-73-72-71), Yuri Fudoh (72-72-74-71), Rikako Morita (73-73-70-73), Ayako Uehara (68-77-70-74), Eun-A Lim (74-69-72-74), Mayu Hattori (72-71-71-74)

T11/+2 Miki Saiki (75-72-73-70)
T12/+3 Sun-Ju Ahn (74-72-76-69), Jae-Hee Bae (75-71-74-71), Momoko Ueda (74-73-71-73), Mi-Jeong Jeon (77-67-74-73), Kaori Aoyama (69-73-76-73)
T17/+4 Asako Fujimoto (75-74-72-71), Mie Nakata (73-74-73-72)
T21/+5 Hyun-Ju Shin (76-73-74-70), Young Kim (74-75-69-75), Ji-Hee Lee (72-72-74-75)
T25/+6 Chie Arimura (75-72-76-71), Hiromi Mogi (76-74-71-73)
T29/+7 Ritsuko Ryu (73-77-72-73)
T30/+8 Chieko Amanuma (73-70-75-78)
32nd/+9 So-Hee Kim (77-72-76-72)
T33/+10 Bo-Bae Song (74-76-75-73), Maiko Wakabayashi (72-78-75-73), Akiko Fukushima (73-72-77-76)
T40/+12 Ah-Reum Hwang (72-76-78-74), Yun-Jye Wei (75-76-73-76)
T48/+15 Yuki Ichinose (73-73-76-81)
T50/+16 Rui Kitada (77-73-78-76)

Scores were so high because it was a wet week.

With money-list leader Sakura Yokomine sitting this one out to rest a sprained ankle and former leader Inbee Park in contention today on the LPGA, Sun-Ju Ahn, Chie Arimura, and Rui Kitada had their opportunities to make a move on them this week, but in the end it was Akane Iijima who took the biggest leap up the money list:

1. Sakura Yokomine ¥43.33M
2. Inbee Park ¥36.50M
3. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥33.61M
4. Chie Arimura ¥32.67M
5. Akane Iijima ¥32.21M
6. Rui Kitada ¥31.08M
7. Yuri Fudoh ¥29.83M
8. Miho Koga ¥29.24M
9. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥27.64M
10. Mayu Hattori ¥27.01M
11. Ji-Yai Shin ¥25.76M
12. Nikki Campbell ¥24.99M
13. Mie Nakata ¥23.39M
14. Shinobu Moromizato ¥23.21M
15. Yukari Baba ¥21.17M
16. Yun-Jye Wei ¥19.72M
17. Ayako Uehara ¥18.91M
18. Asako Fujimoto ¥18.82M
19. Hiromi Mogi ¥17.58M
20. Bo-Bae Song ¥17.44M
21. Hiromi Takesue ¥16.78M
22. Young Kim ¥15.69M
23. Yoshimi Koda ¥14.12M
24. Kaori Aoyama ¥14.10M
25. Ji-Hee Lee ¥13.85M
26. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥13.41M
27. Saiki Fujita ¥13.35M
28. Eun-A Lim ¥12.34M
29. Na-Ri Kim ¥12.29M
30. Chieko Amanuma ¥12.23M

Momoko Ueda climbed to #36 on the money list with just over 10 million yen, 2 spots ahead of Ai Miyazato and 22 ahead of Seon Hwa Lee. This is significant in that all 3 LPGAers will need to play a good number of additional JLPGA events as the season goes on to guarantee they finish in the top 50 of the money list and keep their cards for the 2011 season. But for the rest of June and most of July all 3 will be focused on the LPGA, along with Inbee Park and Ji-Yai Shin (when she recovers from her emergency appendectomy, that is).

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