Sunday, May 5, 2013

CyberAgent Ladies Overview: Sakura Yokomine Wins for 1st Time in 2 Years

Sakura Yokomine chased down Mi-Jeong Jeon over the final 9 holes of the CyberAgent Ladies today in Chiba to return to the winner's circle on the JLPGA for the 1st time since the 2011 season.  Yokomine's 19th career victory on tour didn't come easy.  Jeon, who was the leading money winner last season, when she won 5 times and earned over 130 million yen, had fired an 8-birdie 65 in the 2nd round to take a 2-shot lead on Yokomine, and held it over the front 9.  But when Yokomine birdied 10 and Jeon bogeyed it, they were tied at -9.  The next 4 holes decided the tournament, as Yokomine bounced back from a bogey on 11 with 2 straight birdies to take a 1-shot lead, then saw it extended to 3 shots when Jeon double bogeyed the 360-yard par-4 14th.  Yokomine then cruised to a 2-shot victory over Jeon, Maiko Wakabayashi, Yuki Sakurai, and Natsuka Hori.

Of the trio, only Wakabayashi had a real chance to join the duel at the top on the back 9, but she stalled out with 2 bogeys in her 1st 5 holes on that side.  Others who put themselves in good position to contend, Jin-Joo Hong, Harukyo Nomura, and Erina Hara, had even worse final 9s (37, 38, and 40, respectively).  It was good to see LPGA rookie Ayako Uehara make it into the top 10 for the 1st time all season, but 3 straight 70s left her 4 behind Yokomine when the smoke cleared.

With money-list leader Miki Saiki taking the week off after winning in both of the previous 2 weeks, and former leader Rikako Morita finishing within the top 15 today, there wasn't a whole lot of movement on the JLPGA money list.  But it's looking like the Yokomine-Jeon rivalry is heating up in 2013!

1. Miki Saiki ¥38.78M
2. Rikako Morita ¥36.31M
3. Sakura Yokomine ¥33.11M
4. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥26.78M
5. Natsuka Hori ¥24.62M
6. Mamiko Higa ¥20.21M
7. Teresa Lu ¥19.02M
8. Yuki Ichinose ¥18.85M
9. Ritsuko Ryu ¥18.53M
10. Na-Ri Kim ¥15.14M
11. Yukari Baba ¥13.98M
12. Miki Sakai ¥12.74M
13. Erika Kikuchi ¥12.33M
14. Harukyo Nomura ¥11.95M
15. Na-Ri Lee ¥11.75M
16. Junko Omote ¥11.35M
17. Soo-Yun Kang ¥11.25M
18. Yumiko Yoshida ¥10.89M
19. Kaori Ohe ¥10.72M
20. Yuki Sakurai ¥10.45M
21. Megumi Kido ¥10.16M
22. Onnarin Sattayabanphot ¥9.23M
23. Hiromi Mogi ¥9.21M
24. Shiho Oyama ¥9.18M
25. Young Kim ¥9.09M

Next up is the tour's 1st major of the year, the Salonpas Cup (aka the World Ladies Championship).  Inbee Park, Shanshan Feng, Mika Miyazato, and Morgan Pressel will be joining the JLPGA's finest, along with Lydia Ko and Minjee Lee, but neither Ai Miyazato nor Chie Arimura will be playing, or, for that matter, Ji-Yai Shin or Na Yeon Choi or Ya Ni Tseng, who have played in JLPGA majors and other big events before.    But the KLPGA's Ha-Neul Kim will be there.  Should be super-cool!

[Update (9:05 pm): bangkokbobby is excited for his favorite JLPGA player and has plenty of visuals from the final day to show it!]

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