Monday, October 25, 2010

Masters GC Ladies Sunday: Sakura's Back!

Last year's JLPGA money leader Sakura Yokomine has been as close to invisible on tour this season as it's possible for a player of her caliber to be. Sure she'd won once coming into this week, finished within the top 10 in 15 of 22 previous events, and kept her scoring average below 71 for the 3rd-straight season, but she hadn't been getting into contention nearly as often as I've become used to seeing her be. Instead, she's been overshadowed by the brilliance of rookies Sun-Ju Ahn and Inbee Park, outwon by rival Mi-Jeong Jeon, and generally not the same player who broke the JLPGA's single-seasons winnings record last year.

Well, this week at the Masters GC Ladies, Yokomine stole the headlines from the rest of the JLPGA's finest and even overshadowed Paula Creamer's visit to Japan. A hole in 1 yesterday on the 195-yard 7th hole sparked an opening 32 that gave her a 3-shot lead on Yukari Baba and a 4-shot lead on Jeon heading into the final 9. Sure, Creamer birdied 5 holes on the front to make up a shot on her, but she, too, was 4 down as Yokomine made the turn. From there, all the leaders found it tough to make birdies except for Baba, who made 3 of them in a 4-hole stretch mid-way through the back and would have tied Yokomine except that the leader birdied the 1 hole Baba failed to during that run. It all came down to the last 3 holes, on which both players went par-bogey-par--and, voila, Sakura's back!

1st/-10 Sakura Yokomine (71-67-68)
2nd/-9 Yukari Baba (67-71-69)
3rd/-7 Mi-Jeong Jeon (69-69-71)
4th/-6 Paula Creamer (74-69-67)
T5/-4 Young Kim (71-70-71), Chie Arimura (71-69-72)
T7/-3 Saiki Fujita (73-71-69), Na-Ri Lee (71-72-70)
9th/-2 Maiko Wakabayashi (71-70-73)
T10/-1 Mayu Hattori (76-71-68), Ikue Asama (74-70-71), Li-Ying Ye (72-70-73)

T13/E Bo-Bae Song (77-72-67), Mie Nakata (73-72-71), Ji-Hee Lee (73-70-73), Jae-Hee Bae (71-71-74)
T18/+1 Ayako Uehara (73-72-72), Hiromi Mogi (70-75-72), Asako Fujimoto (74-69-74), Shinobu Moromizato (71-72-74), Tamie Durdin (69-70-78)
T23/+2 Kumiko Kaneda (77-70-71), Rikako Morita (73-74-71), Sun-Ju Ahn (73-73-72), Nikki Campbell (72-72-74), So-Hee Kim (72-72-74), Yuko Mitsuka (72-68-78)
T29/+3 Ah-Reum Hwang (76-70-73), Miki Saiki (72-73-74)
T31/+4 Kaori Aoyama (73-74-73), Eun-A Lim (73-74-73)
T37/+6 Akane Iijima (74-73-75), Ritsuko Ryu (71-75-76), Yuki Ichinose (72-73-77)
T42/+7 Na-Ri Kim (76-73-74)
47th/+9 Yuri Fudoh (71-76-78)
T48/+10 Kyung-Min Lin (75-74-77)
50th/+11 Chieko Amanuma (72-75-80)

Yokomine made up some serious ground on Ahn, but she has a long way to go if she wants to repeat as the JLPGA's money-list queen!

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥125.22M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥92.40M
3. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥77.87M
4. Yukari Baba ¥77.08M
5. Chie Arimura ¥66.41M
6. Saiki Fujita ¥61.17M
7. Yuri Fudoh ¥61.15M
8. Akane Iijima ¥57.42M
9. Rui Kitada ¥54.55M
10. Inbee Park ¥53.91M
11. Nikki Campbell ¥53.27M
12. Ji-Hee Lee ¥49.67M
13. Young Kim ¥46.90M
14. Shinobu Moromizato ¥41.35M
15. Ayako Uehara ¥40.47M
16. Mayu Hattori ¥39.89M
17. Miki Saiki ¥39.77M
18. Eun-A Lim ¥38.22M
19. Mie Nakata ¥36.97M
20. Na-Ri Kim ¥33.37M
21. Miho Koga ¥34.53M
22. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥34.38M
23. Ji-Yai Shin ¥33.38M
24. Hiromi Mogi ¥31.11M
25. Ji-Woo Lee ¥29.99M
26. Asako Fujimoto ¥29.85M
27. Hiromi Takesue ¥29.19M
28. Akiko Fukushima ¥28.86M
29. Bo-Bae Song ¥28.68M
30. Na-Ri Lee ¥28.07M
31. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥26.87M
32. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥25.31M
33. Kaori Aoyama ¥23.28M
34. Yun-Jye Wei ¥22.78M
35. Rikako Morita ¥21.80M

Final-round collapses were costly for Tamie Durdin and Yuko Mitsuka, who moved up only 1 spot each to #47 and #49, respectively. Shiho Oyama's missed cut leaves her at #71. Even Ai Miyazato is only at #46 (although she has 2 big-purse events to go on the JLPGA).... Things are really tightening up over in Japan!

Here's the field list for this week's event, which is named after JLPGA legend Hisako Higuchi. The week after that is the Mizuno!

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