Friday, March 14, 2014

Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup Friday: Rough Day at the Office for All But 6

Bo-Bae Song, Asako Fujimoto, and Mami Fukuda were the only players to break 70 in the 1st round of the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup today--all of them just barely did it, too, opening with -3 69s.  The only other players to join them under par were Yuki Ichinose (-2), Nozomi Inoue (-1), and Rumi Yoshida (-1).

Defending champion Mi-Jeong Jeon, who beat Young Kim in a playoff last year, managed to join 6 other golfers, including Sun-Ju Ahn and Maya Hattori, at E, but with the cut line hovering somewhere between +3 and +5, it was a rough day at the office for most of the field.  Even well-known golfers struggled mightily today.  Na Zhang withdrew, Mamiko Higa (who's fighting for the last spot on Team Japan in the LPGA's International Crown), opened with an 80, Momoko Ueda and Young Kim (both former LPGA members) suffered 79s, Na-Ri Lee and Japanese young guns Erika Kikuchi and Kumiko Kaneda stumbled to 78s, Ji-Yai Shin, Saiki Fujita, and Erina Hara settled for 77s, Yuri Fudoh, Hyun-Ju Shin, and Esther Lee posted 76s, Sakura Yokomine, Miki Saiki, Yumiko Yoshida, Na-Ri Kim, and last week's winner Onnarin Sattayabanphot (who, like Higa, is fighting to be on her country's team in the LPGA's 1st worldwide team event, and played pretty good golf except for a triple bogey on the on the par-5 10th) came in with 75s, Ji-Hee Lee, Bo-Mee Lee, and Shinobu Moromizato fought for their 74s, and Rikako Morita, Teresa Lu, Yuko Mitsuka, and Yukari Baba hung in there with 73s.  When you consider that only 29 golfers broke 75 and 19 failed to break 80, you've gotta be impressed with those who were able to get under par today.

At the same time, it's worth keeping in mind that the field is so bunched that a really good round tomorrow will leapfrog much of it.  And that everyone at +2 or better is within 5 shots of the lead.  So if people can avoid trouble on or take advantage of holes that tripped up many in the field today--like the 544-yard 10th (which Ji-Yai Shin, Mitsuka, and Na-Ri Lee doubled), the 163-yard 14th (which Kikuchi doubled, 3 players tripled, and 1 quadded), or the 315-yard 16th (which Ahn and Young Kim both doubled, 3 others tripled, and 1 quadded)--they can make big moves tomorrow up the leaderboard.

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