Sunday, September 23, 2012

Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Ladies Open Overview: Rikako Morita Outlasts Hiromi Mogi and Esther Lee

Hiromi Mogi held a slim 1-shot lead on Esther Lee and Rikako Morita heading into the final round of the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Ladies Open, and Sunday's final threesome didn't disappoint.  After a series of thrills and spills, the 22-year-old Morita emerged victorious, capturing her 2nd career JLPGA win.  But it wasn't easy.

Lee struck 1st with a bogey-free 33 on the front to leap into 1st at -12, but Morita's birdies on the par-3 7th and par-5 8th enabled her to catch Mogi at -11 when the 2nd-round leader bogeyed the par-4 9th.  A Morita birdie and Lee bogey on 10 reversed their positions, but then Mogi birdied 11 to join Morita at -12.  There was another 2-shot swing on 12, where a Morita birdie and Mogi bogey gave the former her 1st 2-shot lead of the day.  But after trading birdies with Mogi on 13 and witnessing Lee make a birdie on 14 to join Mogi at -12, Morita saw her lead evaporate when she bogeyed and Mogi birdied 15.  Undaunted, Morita responded with a birdie on the 386-yard par-4 16th to return to -14, and when Mogi bogeyed it and Lee bogeyed the 372-yard par-4 17th, Morita's chasers needed miracles on the short par-5 closing hole.  When all 3 players ended up parring it, Morita had secured her 1st win on tour since 2010.

Even though Chie Arimura, Ji-Hee Lee, and Kumiko Kaneda matched Morita's 67 for co-low rounds of the day, they couldn't keep up with her 2nd-round 64 and had to settle for top 10s.  The visiting Shanshan Feng shot 3 under-par rounds in a row but could never go low enough to be a factor, finishing 6 shots behind Morita and 2 behind Arimura at -8.  Still, she beat Lee, Kaneda, Mi-Jeong Jeon, and Mayu Hattori by 2 shots, Sakura Yokomine and Yuri Fudoh by 4, Shiho Oyama by 5, Sun-Ju Ahn by 8, and Bo-Mee Lee by 9.  I'd say she's in good shape heading into next week's Japan Women's Open.

Speaking of good shape, Morita is now within shouting distance of the JLPGA's Big 3, having moved up to 4th on the money list:

1. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥107.37M
2. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥93.22M
3. Chie Arimura ¥89.38M
4. Rikako Morita ¥63.42M
5. Mayu Hattori ¥62.48M
6. Ritsuko Ryu ¥61.86M
7. Miki Saiki ¥58.52M
8. Bo-Mee Lee ¥56.15M
9. Ji-Hee Lee ¥53.94M
10. Sakura Yokomine ¥44.95M
11. Yumiko Yoshida ¥43.64M
12. Shanshan Feng ¥43.28M
13. Inbee Park ¥41.94M
14. Hiromi Mogi ¥38.22M
15. Soo-Yun Kang ¥36.61M
16. Esther Lee ¥35.08M
17. Mihoko Iseri ¥32.70M
18. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥30.18M
19. Yuri Fudoh ¥29.04M
20. Kaori Ohe ¥28.30M
21. Megumi Kido ¥26.08M
22. Natsu Nagai ¥25.41M
23. Kumiko Kaneda ¥23.38M
24. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥22.72M
25. Yuki Ichinose ¥22.00M
26. So-Hee Kim ¥21.75M
27. Na-Ri Lee¥21.51M
28. Na-Ri Kim ¥21.27M
29. Miki Sakai ¥21.25M
30. Junko Omote ¥21.05M
31. Yukari Baba ¥20.95M
32. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥20.83M
33. Rui Kitada ¥20.71M
34. Ayako Uehara ¥20.61M
35. Shinobu Moromizato ¥20.35M
36. Akane Iijima ¥20.35M
37. Erina Hara ¥19.22M
38. Airi Saitoh ¥19.12M
39. Young Kim¥18.48M
40. Ji-Yai Shin ¥17.78M
41. Erika Kikuchi ¥17.66M
42. Eun-Bi Jang ¥17.31M
43. Teresa Lu ¥16.95M
44. Bo-Bae Song ¥15.63M
45. Saiki Fujita¥15.00M
46. Yuko Fukuda ¥14.82M
47. Harukyo Nomura ¥14.48M
48. Da-Ye Na ¥13.00M
49. Hsuan-Yu Yao ¥12.15M
50. Nikki Campbell ¥11.90M

So the showdown I was drooling over last Tuesday is finally almost here.  The JWO is easily the biggest tournament on the JLPGA and it's got the cast to prove it again this year:  Tseng, Choi, Shin, Park, Feng, and the Miyazatos will be testing themselves against the JLPGA's finest as well as the top teenagers in Japan.  Sweet!

No comments: