Sunday, September 2, 2012

Golf5 Ladies Overview: Sun-Ju Ahn Takes Down Ji-Hee Lee for 2nd JLPGA Win in a Row

Sun-Ju Ahn is back, baby!  After a slower start than usual this season, the JLPGA's most dominant player of the last 2 years has now made it 2 wins in a row.  And she did it by taking down 2 of the best Korean golfers ever to make the JLPGA their home tour.  Last week's victim was current money-list leader Mi-Jeong Jeon.  This week, Ji-Hee Lee came up short in her effort to secure her 18th career JLPGA victory.

Ahn started her round today 1 shot behind 2nd-round leader Chie Arimura, who opened with a pair of 67s, despite double bogeying her 36th hole.  But when Ahn birdied 4 of her 1st 5 holes from the next-to-last group, she leaped out to a 2-shot lead on Arimura, who birdied the 391-yard par-4 1st to get to -11 but couldn't find another until her final group reached the 10th hole.  Lee, playing in the group before Ahn's, had birdied her 1st 3 holes in a row but bogeyed the 491-yard par-5 5th hole to drop back to -10 for the tournament.  As she made par after par on the front after that, she was passed by playing partner Yun-Jye Wei's bogey-free 32, Yukari Baba's matching score from the group ahead of them, and Rikako Morita's bogey-free 31 from the group ahead of Baba, which pulled all of them even with Arimura at -11.

But as the leaders made the turn, things started to heat up again.  Morita birdied the 397-yard par-4 11th to get to -12.  Baba responded with a birdie on the 471-yard par-5 10th.  Lee joined them with an eagle and Wei with a birdie when they got to the 10th.  Even as Ahn's playing partner Mayu Hattori got to double digits under par with birdies on the par-5 5th and 10th, Ahn made it to -14 with a birdie on the 10th.  Arimura got off the par train with birdies on the 10th and 184-yard par-3 12th to pull within 1 of the lead and into a tie with Lee, who had birdied the 11th.  When Wei birdied the 378-yard par-4 13th and Ahn bogeyed the 419-yard par-4 14th, we had 4 players at -13 and 2 at -12.

Morita wouldn't make another birdie until the 371-yard par-4 18th, establishing herself as leader in the clubhouse at -13.  Baba got there with a birdie on the 508-yard par-5 16th but bogeyed the 18th to fall back to -12.  Wei bogeyed 17th but bounced back with a walkoff birdie to join her.  Lee, who had made 6 pars in a row after her burst at the turn, birdied the 18th to get to -14.  As all this was going on, Ahn birdied the 169-yard par-3 15th and 508-yard par-5 16th to make it to -15 before bogeying the 414-yard par-4 17th. 

So Ahn found herself needing a par on the final hole to make it into a playoff with Lee and a birdie to beat her.  All she did under those circumstances was stick her approach shot on the 18th to about 18 inches and calmly sink the putt for her 3rd JLPGA victory of the year.  Arimura's 6-hole par train to finish the tournament was only good enough for a T3 with Morita, 2 shots behind the now-11-time winner on the JLPGA.

What a difference 2 weeks can make on the JLPGA!  After Jeon's win 3 weeks ago, she held a 30-million-yen lead on Ahn on the money list.  Now it's under ¥10M.

1. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥100.06M
2. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥90.68M
3. Mayu Hattori ¥60.01M
4. Chie Arimura ¥55.98M
5. Ritsuko Ryu ¥53.18M
6. Ji-Hee Lee ¥51.91M
7. Miki Saiki ¥51.66M
8. Rikako Morita ¥49.54M
9. Bo-Mee Lee ¥44.97M
10. Sakura Yokomine ¥42.56M
11. Shanshan Feng ¥40.48M
12. Soo-Yun Kang ¥35.14M
13. Yumiko Yoshida ¥33.50M
14. Hiromi Mogi ¥31.36M
15. Inbee Park ¥29.62M
16. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥29.08M
17. Mihoko Iseri ¥27.18M
18. Kaori Ohe ¥26.76M
19. Yuri Fudoh ¥26.69M
20. Esther Lee ¥24.23M
21. Megumi Kido ¥23.65M
22. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥21.44M
23. Yuki Ichinose ¥20.75M
24. Shinobu Moromizato ¥20.35M
25. Yukari Baba ¥19.80M
26. So-Hee Kim ¥18.84M
27. Miki Sakai ¥18.82M
28. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥18.71M
29. Erina Hara ¥18.68M
30. Ayako Uehara ¥18.55M
31. Airi Saitoh ¥18.35M
32. Young Kim¥18.05M
33. Ji-Yai Shin ¥17.78M
34. Akane Iijima ¥17.28M
35. Erika Kikuchi ¥17.12M
36. Na-Ri Lee¥17.04M
37. Rui Kitada ¥16.68M
38. Teresa Lu ¥16.25M
39. Bo-Bae Song ¥15.63M
40. Eun-Bi Jang ¥15.54M
41. Na-Ri Kim ¥14.75M
42. Junko Omote ¥14.68M
43. Harukyo Nomura ¥14.48M
44. Kumiko Kaneda ¥14.13M
45. Yuko Fukuda ¥13.72M
46. Da-Ye Na ¥10.59M
47. Lala Anai ¥10.46M
48. Natsu Nagai ¥10.23M
49. Shiho Toyonaga ¥10.09M
50. Yui Kawahara¥9.99M

Next up is the JLPGA's 2nd major, the Konica Minolta Cup, which Yuko Mitsuka won last year.  Dual LPGA-JLPGA members Shanshan Feng, Inbee Park, and Harukyo Nomura will be squaring off against the JLPGA's finest, choosing a JLPGA major over the LPGA's return to Kingsmill.  There's more than 1 way to get to Hoylake (for the RICOH Women's British Open the following week), after all!


ba san said...
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