Starting Thursday, the longest season ever (52 events) wraps up with a Major for a field of 40 at the balmy climes of Miyazaki CC. Sakura Koiwai and Miki Sakai will be the only two players to play all 52 events. For Saku-chan, that will be 129 straight events since becoming a big tour regular in 2018.
Sunday's broadcast will be LIVE here (Japan time) -
They are off and running after 90 minutes ... Kotone Hori tied for 2nd at -2 thru five holes ... I looked up her 2021 WITB and she is partially Bridgestone, as you can see below ... also carries two 2012 TourStage X-Drive GR hybrids (23 & 25 deg.), WTH! Oh, and she has two Jucie wedges (51 & 58) ... I had to do a search on GolfWrx to find that one ... ridiculously expensive heads, but she doesn't have to worry about that:
I don't have time this AM to watch one of the longer rogue videos ... but this 4 1/2 minute Furue highlight reel from the official JLPGA YouTube channel was sufficient:
POS PLAYER SCORE HOLE TODAY 1R 2R 3R 4R TOTAL 1 Ayaka Furue -8 F -8 64 64 2 Mi-Jeong Jeon -5 F -5 67 67 3T Mao Nozawa -4 F -4 68 68 3T Sayaka Takahashi -4 F -4 68 68 5T Kotone Hori -3 F -3 69 69 5T Shina Kanazawa -3 F -3 69 69 5T Kana Mikashima -3 F -3 69 69 5T Momoko Ueda -3 F -3 69 69 9T Teresa Lu -2 F -2 70 70 9T Saiki Fujita -2 F -2 70 70 9T Seonwoo Bae -2 F -2 70 70
Ayaka Furue tied the course record, so I assume she doesn't get the one million Yen bonus ... but there are three more days. The best part of her 64 was that Mone Inami had to watch all 18 holes of it ... and she shot 74. Furue needs a 1st or 2nd place to have any chance of yanking the Points and Money titles away from Inami.
I'm old, but I'm cool ... Saiki Fujita
Mi Jeong Jeon is pushing 40, but has no use for forgiving irons
Second round highlights in four minutes ... odd reactions by Kana Mikashima after jarring her 3rd shot at the par-5 9th (begins at 2:22) ... Kotone Hori chip-in birdie at par-4 18th starts at 3:29 ... Ayaka Furue didn't make the video until the 3:45 mark:
POS PLAYER SCORE HOLE TODAY 1R 2R 3R 4R TOTAL 1 Ayaka Furue -7 F +1 64 73 137 2 Kotone Hori -6 F -3 69 69 138 3T Mao Nozawa -5 F -1 68 71 139 3T Mamiko Higa -5 F -4 71 68 139 3T Momoko Ueda -5 F -2 69 70 139 6T Mi-Jeong Jeon -4 F +1 67 73 140 6T Mao Saigo -4 F -3 71 69 140 6T Kana Mikashima -4 F -1 69 71 140 9 Eri Okayama -3 F -3 72 69 141 10T Lala Anai -2 F -4 74 68 142 10T Yuna Nishimura -2 F -3 73 69 142 10T Sakura Koiwai -2 F -2 72 70 142 10T Seonwoo Bae -2 F 0 70 72 142
Hori #2 at #18
Ayaka Furue let everyone back in the tournament with three bogeys in her first seven holes ... probably just a temporary reprieve.
Ritsuko Ryu (+6)
Mone Inami (+2) still in danger of throwing away year-end hardware
Ayako Kimura (+7) ... looks like Kobayashi in the background.
Min Young Lee (+5)
Pei Ying Tsai (+2)
Mamiko Higa has come out of hiding this week ... has eight trunk slams in her last thirteen starts with no finish better than T-34.
As you can see below, they're next to the airport. I'm wondering what kind of itinerary Ayaka Furue has in place following this tournament ... I assume it will be hairy as tourist traffic between Miyazaki Japan and Mobile AL is probably non-existent! I poked around Google Travel/Flights and discovered that Miyazaki is too minor league to have a DIRECT flight to LAX ... you have to go through Tokyo first. You can get from LAX to Mobile's regional airport via one stop in DFW. I don't know what chartered flights cost, but they might be a worthwhile alternative ... she has made a ton of money and first prize this week is about $265K USD.
MIYAZAKI, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 27: Ayaka Watanabe of Japan hits her second shot on the 2nd hole during the third round of the JLPGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup at the Miyazaki Country Club on November 27, 2021 in Miyazaki, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Rough day at the office for Kotone Hori five over for the round. After going four over par, she made birdie on nine and ten to get to two over. But she then made a bogey on eleven and a double on eighteen. Still one under par and tied for fifteen which isn't too bad for the Tournament.