Sunday, March 23, 2014

T-Point Ladies Sunday: Rikako Morita Wins for 7th Time on JLPGA

Rikako Morita fired a bogey-free 34 on the back 9 to get to -8 for the week and secure a 4-shot victory over Erina Hara in the T-Point Ladies.  Morita's 7th JLPGA victory came fairly easy,  despite opening with a 37, because her playing partners and 2 nearest competitors at the start of the day, Hara and Bo-Mee Lee, failed to take advantage of it.  Lee closed the deficit from 4 to 3 shots as they made the turn, but Hara's birdie-less 38 meant that she fell 2 behind Morita.  Lee fell further off the pace when she bogeyed 3 of her 1st 5 holes on the back, and Hara dropped 3 behind Morita when she bogeyed the long par-4 11th.  Even though she birdied 13 and 14, Morita matched her shot for shot, and a walkoff bogey made the final deficit 4 shots.

The best rounds of the day came from players too far behind Morita to put any pressure on her.  Yeon-Ju Jung made 6 birdies on the back, including her last 3 holes in a row, to post a 68 a move into a tie for 5th at -2 with Sakura Yokomine (71), Saiki Fujita (69), Hiroko Fukushima (72), and Yukari Nishiyama (72).  Hye-Jin Jung fired a bogey-free 31 on the front to join Lee, Bo-Bae Song (71), Yukari Baba (72), and Kana Nagai (70) in a tie for 10th at -1.  The Daikin Orchid Ladies champion, Onnarin Sattayabanphot (70), joined Mami Fukuda (71) in 3rd.  Besides 69s by Ritsuko Ryu and Shinobu Moromizato that allowed them to sneak into the top 20 with Ji-Yai Shin, Mayu Hattori, Misuzu Narita, and Esther Lee, nobody else really had rounds to write home about.  Sun-Ju Ahn (71) barely made the top 25, Ji-Hee Lee (73) and Shiho Oyama (75) barely made the top 30, and last week's winner Yuki Ichinose (76) barely made the top 40.

So it's looking like Shin will not make Team Korea for the LPGA's International Crown and Morita and Yokomine have secured the last 2 spots on Team Japan, while Sattayabanphot is looking pretty good for Team Thailand.  Here's how the 2014 JLPGA money list looks now:

1. Onnarin Sattayabanphot ¥22.97M

2. Rikako Morita ¥19.27M
3. Yuki Ichinose ¥14.86M
4. Erina Hara ¥9.35M
5. Mami Fukuda ¥7.95M
6. Miki Sakai ¥7.59M

7. Ji-Yai Shin 
8. Bo-Bae Song ¥6.91M
9. Airi Saitoh ¥6.67M
10. Ayaka Watanabe ¥6.51M
11. Bo-Mee Lee ¥6.29M
12. Mamiko Higa ¥6.16M

13. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥6.05M
14. Asako Fujimoto ¥5.51M
15. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥4.69M

Next up on the JLPGA is the AXA Ladies, which Natsuka Hori won last year.  Here's the field list.  Let's see if Morita can keep rolling in Miyazaki!

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