Wow, what a weekend! Inbee and So Yeon are 1-2 after three rounds in China, and Ha Neul Kim and Kangsy are right in the hunt in Japan. It's too bad the JLPGA broadcast time is so wonky this week, cause I can't possibly stay up until 3 or 4 AM to watch their coverage (when the actual event is over around 1 AM if they just chose to show it live!).
Ah well, all I can do is send positive vibes. GO SISTERS!!!
While playing in a steady downpour, Ji Hee Lee poured in a ridiculous putt (had to be 50-60 feet) on #18 to force a playoff against Ai Suzuki. The playoff was on #18. On the 3rd time through, Lee drained another long one to get her 18th JLPGA win (her previous win was May 2012).
It took nearly 3 years and some jaw-dropping putting, but Ji-Hee Lee is once again in a JLPGA winner’s circle, taking the 2015 Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup. A few years ago…I don’t remember exactly how long I’ve been following the JLPGA…Ji-Hee Lee was one of the top players, finding her way to victory 17 times. From 2008 to 2012, she was out of the top 10 on the year-end money list only once, in 2010, and that was still a very impressive 14th. In two of those years, 2008 and 2011, she was 2nd on the year-end money list. But over the past two seasons, Ji-Hee has fallen out of the top 20. Maybe this win will be the catalyst that ignites another great year for Lee. Only two events in, she has nearly 35% of what she earned last year. Getting there wasn’t easy as she had to drop a Paula Creamer-esque HSBC bomb of a putt on the final hole of regulation play to force a playoff with Ai Suzuki. Lee finished the 2nd round at 8-under, 2 shots clear of Erina Hara, Soo Yun Kang and 1st round leader Mi-Jeong Jeon. Unfortunately, Hara and Kang took themselves out of contention, shooting 78 and 76 respectively. MJJ shot had a decent 1-under 71, especially considering the rainy conditions, but that was not enough to make up ground on Lee, who also shot 1-under 71. Instead it was a 4-under 68 from Suzuki that put the pressure on, forcing a miracle 18th hole putt from the overnight leader to reach 9-under overall. Although I am happy for Ji-Hee Lee, I do feel a bit for Ai Suzuki. Not only did Lee drain a bomb to force a playoff, she again went long with a 24 foot birdie putt to win the title. I mentioned Paula Creamer at HSBC 2014. Ai Suzuki had to feel a bit like Azahara Munoz watching victory taken from her in such dramatic, low percentage fashion. But that’s golf. That’s sports. In the end, Ji-Hee Lee made the shots she needed, when she needed, for her 18th JLPGA victory.
WTF....they showed a screen golf event instead of showing this tournament live...huh. Those crazy Koreans and their screen golf.
Now, THAT'S funny! I put on SBS Golf the other day and they were showing Mi Hyun Kim and three civilians (for lack of a better term) having a two-on-two screen golf match, LOL.
SBS Golf never shows the JLPGA "live"; their first run is delayed by a couple of hours, usually. The good news is that I got up at a normal time and watched the first replay a few minutes later at 7:30 AM EST. The next rerun will be at 7:30 PM EST today. Looks like they won't be showing the next JLPGA event (March 20-22), unless their schedule changes.
Before regulation play ended, they showed Erika Kikuchi (already finished at -8) keeping warm by swinging a club right AND left-handed. I'll bet her popularity is light-years beyond her stats (no career wins and she's almost 27), but who cares. LOL