Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sankyo Ladies Sunday: Sun-Ju Ahn and Inbee Park Catch and Pass Mi-Jeong Jeon, Ahn Prevails in Playoff, Smashes 100 Million Yen Barrier

Mi-Jeong Jeon had a 4-shot lead as the final round of the Sankyo Ladies began today and she was looking to have garnered her 3rd 4-win season on the JLPGA by the end of the day. Unfortunately, she played merely average golf on the front while playing partner Sun-Ju Ahn went nuts. When all the dust had settled, Ahn's 31 gave her a 1-shot lead heading into the back 9. Rattled, Jeon bogeyed her next 3 holes and was never a factor again. Inbee Park, also playing in the final group, had enough at that point. From 4 down, she rattled off 4 birdies in her last 7 holes, including 2 in her last 3, while Ahn could manage only a birdie on the par-4 15th and a bogey on the par-3 17th. Playoff time! If I can trust google's translation of this Golf Digest Japan article, Park got too aggressive on her approach shot on the 1st playoff hole and put it in a pond over the green. Just like that, Ahn had her 3rd JLPGA victory of the year and has broken the 100 million yen barrier, while Park had her 6th silver medal in 10 starts on tour.

Here are the results for the leaders and notables in the field:

1st/-10 Sun-Ju Ahn (69-70-67) [won in playoff]
2nd/-10 Inbee Park (68-71-67)
3rd/-7 Yukari Baba (69-71-69)
4th/-6 Mi-Jeong Jeon (68-67-75)
5th/-5 Yuri Fudoh (69-71-71)
6th/-4 Rui Kitada (72-71-69)
T7/-3 Yuki Ichinose (71-72-70), Hyun-Ju Shin (74-68-71), Junko Omote (71-70-72), Chie Arimura (69-72-72)

T11/-2 Miki Saiki (73-74-67), Kaori Aoyama (72-70-72)
T13/-1 Ah-Reum Hwang (70-73-72), Akane Iijima (72-70-73), Mayu Hattori (69-72-74)
16th/E Asako Fujimoto (72-69-75)
T17/+1 Ji-Woo Lee (77-71-69), Jee-Hae Bae (72-74-71), Young Kim (75-70-72), Ayako Uehara (73-70-74)
T21/+2 Ji-Hee Lee (76-70), Sakura Yokomine (74-69-75)
T24/+3 Saiki Fujita (74-73-72), Mie Nakata (71-76-72), Ritsuko Ryu (71-73-75), Shinobu Moromizato (74-69-76)
T29/+4 Yun-Jye Wei (78-70-72), Na-Ri Lee (72-76-72), Na-Ri Kim (75-70-75)
T34/+5 Shiho Oyama (71-74-76), Eun-A Lim (74-70-77)
T43/+7 Hiromi Mogi (76-71-76)
T47/+9 So-Hee Kim (74-72-79)

The "Ahn of Green Gables" pun notwithstanding, check out Ahn's commanding lead on the JLPGA money list!

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥109.75M
2. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥69.26M
3. Sakura Yokomine ¥68.06M
4. Yukari Baba ¥61.05M
5. Yuri Fudoh ¥60.28M
6. Akane Iijima ¥56.32M
7. Chie Arimura ¥55.67M
8. Saiki Fujita ¥55.62M
9. Rui Kitada ¥54.07M
10. Inbee Park ¥53.91M
11. Nikki Campbell ¥50.00M
12. Ji-Hee Lee ¥46.43M
13. Shinobu Moromizato ¥39.32M
14. Ayako Uehara ¥38.63M
15. Young Kim ¥38.03M
16. Eun-A Lim ¥37.32M
17. Miki Saiki ¥37.25M
18. Mayu Hattori ¥36.86M
19. Mie Nakata ¥35.15M
20. Miho Koga ¥34.53M
21. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥33.90M
22. Na-Ri Kim ¥32.41M
23. Ji-Woo Lee ¥29.99M
24. Hiromi Mogi ¥29.20M
25. Hiromi Takesue ¥29.19M
26. Akiko Fukushima ¥28.21M
27. Asako Fujimoto ¥27.37M
28. Ji-Yai Shin ¥26.34M
29. Bo-Bae Song ¥25.63M
30. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥25.19M
31. Na-Ri Lee ¥22.85M
32. Yun-Jye Wei ¥22.78M
33. Kaori Aoyama ¥22.38M
34. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥21.66M
35. Rikako Morita ¥20.73M

Momoko Ueda at #37, Ai Miyazato at #44, Tamie Durdin at #47, Yuko Mitsuka at #50, So-Hee Kim at #56, Teresa Lu at #59, Shiho Oyama at #69, Seon Hwa Lee at #82, and Erina Hara at #84 all have varying degrees of urgency to make end-of-season charges. But if the partial field list for next week's Fujitsu Ladies (which includes Ji-Yai Shin but not Inbee Park, by the way) is any indication, Lu and Lee have given up on the idea of dual membership. Given that Ueda, Miyazato, and Lee aren't on the Fundokin Fujitsu [thanks, John!] list but will be playing the LPGA's Malaysia event the following week, it appears they're rolling the dice on the Mizuno Classic a couple of weeks after that. (Unless they're entering the Masters GC event the week before instead of playing in Korea.) Actually, since Ai-sama got a special invitation into the JLPGA's final major, the Ricoh Cup, she's virtually guaranteed of keeping her card. More on this as it gets clearer.

For now, what's clear is that Sun-Ju Ahn is dominating the JLPGA. Let's see how her former KLPGA rival Ji-Yai Shin does against her and the rest of the JLPGA's finest next week!

[Update 1 (9:52 am): The Full Metal Archivist translated the article about Sun-Ju Ahn's new nickname for me when she got up. Turns out Ahn died her hair red so she'd be more recognizable to Japanese fans and Ji-Hee Lee teased her about Anne of Green Gables. Ahn loved it and now wants Japanese fans to remember her by that!]

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