Sunday, May 12, 2013

Salonpas Cup Sunday: Hiromi Mogi Wins JLPGA's 1st Major of 2013

To say that Hiromi Mogi was overshadowed by her fellow leaders through the 1st 3 rounds of the Salonpas Cup is to understate the case.  Sure, Mogi had won 5 times in her 1st 10 seasons on the JLPGA, the same number as leader for the 1st 2 rounds Saiki Fujita, but Fujita already numbered a major among her victories.  Mogi was just the kind of steady, dependable player who would finish somewhere between 14th and 26th on the money list, as she did in every season since her 1st.  How can that compare with the sparks generated by the others near the top of the leaderboard?

Money-list leader Miki Saiki was going for her 3rd win in as many starts, while perennial superstar Sakura Yokomine was going for her 2nd in a row.  Rikako Morita was looking to regain the top spot on the JLPGA money list.  And So Yeon Ryu was looking to burnish her reputation as one of the best players in the wide world of women's golf.  Heck, even world #1 Inbee Park's withdrawal late in the second round due to blisters on her right hand was a bigger story than Mogi's hanging around the top of the leaderboard in the JLPGA's 1st major of 2013.

But there's one simple way for golfers to draw the spotlight to themselves:  play better golf than everyone else.  And that's just what Mogi did today, jumping out to the lead with a bogey-free 33, extending it with 2 birdies in her 1st 7 holes of bogey-free golf on the back that got her to double digits under par, and cruising home for a 2-shot victory over Saiki, despite the money-list leader making up 3 shots over the last 2 holes.  Morita, meanwhile, made 3 birdies over her last 7 holes, but it was too little, too late, after having started with 3 bogeys in her 1st 11 holes.  Top amateur Lydia Ko made a charge on the back, as well, firing a bogey-free 32 to jump into T4 with Ji-Woo Lee and Ryu (who doubled the 10th to drop to -5 and parred out the rest of the way).  Big names rounded out the rest of the leaderboard:  Yokomine at -4, Yuri Fudoh, Sun-Ju Ahn, Shanshan Feng, Saiki Fujita at -3, Morgan Pressel at E (T16), Bo-Mee Lee and Ayako Uehara at +1 (T19), Mika Miyazato at +3 (T28), Mi-Jeong Jeon at +4 (T34), and Shiho Oyama at +6 (T39).  But none of them came close to now-6-time-JLPGA-winner Hiromi Mogi.

With her win, Mogi soars from #23 to #4 on the JLPGA money list:

1. Miki Saiki ¥50.78M
2. Rikako Morita ¥45.31M
3. Sakura Yokomine ¥37.91M
4. Hiromi Mogi ¥33.21M
5. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥27.42M
6. Natsuka Hori ¥25.07M
7. Mamiko Higa ¥20.56M
8. Teresa Lu ¥20.02M
9. Yuki Ichinose ¥19.89M
10. Ritsuko Ryu ¥18.53M
11. Na-Ri Kim ¥15.14M
12. Yukari Baba ¥14.86M
13. Miki Sakai ¥14.54M
14. Junko Omote ¥13.39M
15. Erika Kikuchi ¥12.85M
16. Harukyo Nomura ¥11.95M
17. Na-Ri Lee ¥11.75M
18. Soo-Yun Kang ¥11.25M
19. Yuki Sakurai ¥11.20M
20. Yumiko Yoshida ¥10.89M
21. Kaori Ohe ¥10.72M
22. Megumi Kido ¥10.16M
23. Onnarin Sattayabanphot ¥9.98M
24. Bo-Mee Lee ¥9.92M
25. Ji-Woo Lee ¥9.91M
26. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥9.84M
27. Shiho Oyama ¥9.71M
28. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥9.65M
29. Young Kim ¥9.09M
30. Mayu Hattori ¥8.36M

The JLPGA heads to Fukuoka next week for the Hoken No Madoguchi Ladies (formerly the Fundokin Ladies), in which Inbee Park prevailed over Shanshan Feng.  Park's name still appears on the field list, but I've seen reports she headed to Korea for treatment to her hand, so it's unlikely she'll actually tee it up.  I can't find any other non-JLPGAers with international reputations on the field list, although dual LPGA-JLPGA member Ayako Uehara will be staying on her original home tour for at least one more week.  Let's see if Mogi can keep it rolling along in what is shaping up to be her best season ever, whether Saiki, Morita, and Yokomine can return to the winner's circle, or whether the JLPGA's youth movement or Korean contingent will get it going again!

[Update (12:45 pm):  Here's bangkokbobby's overview!]

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