The LET website is the most useful place to find the field ... from the JLPGA: Chairwoman Mao, Hori Two, Sayaka Takahashi, Miyuu Yamashita, Yuna Nishimura, Minami Katsu and Saiki Fujita. The only KLPGAer is Jung Min Hong. The seven ams entered include The Zhangster, Anna Davis, Mizuki Hashimoto and The Great McGinty. Monday's qualifier for the last 12 or 13 spots includes Aditi, Chang, Do, Hedwall, Amy Hong, Haeji Kang, Doherty, Kinhult, Krauter(a), Unlucky Five, Su Oh, Porna, Reid, J. Song, AVD and The French Gamecock.
Suntory is a big sponsor here, which is how Saiki Fujita got into this tournament ... she finished 2nd in June's Ai Miyazato Suntory Ladies Open. At age 36, it's her first overseas event ... played with Sung Hung during her first practice round.
Before leaving Japan, Fujita had her clubmaker design/assemble a 60/6 wedge to handle pot bunkers:
My field rating for this event is a super 83% (up from 75% last year). Everyone is here except for Danielle Kang who is out on medical. My breakdown is 87% from the LPGA Priority List and 79% from the Rolex Rankings. This is the second strongest field of the year so far, with the KPMG (84%) the highest. The reason why this is ranked so high is the inclusion of many non-LPGA players that are ranked in the top 100 of the Rolex Rankings. They include: Mao Saigo #20 Miyuu Yamashita #45 Pia Babnic #48 Minami Katsu #59 Sayaka Takahashi #66 Maja Stark #68 Linn Grant #70 Kotone Hori #79
Other stuff: Ayaka Furue became the second rookie to win on the LPGA Tour this year. Atthaya Thitikul was the first. Furue is now third in thr Rookie of the Year race with 485 points. Thitikul leads with 951, followed by Hye-Jin Choi with 891
Furue was the fifth first time winner this year, following Leona Maguire, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Jennifer Kupcho, and Atthaya Thitikul.
Furue's victory was the 2nd this year for Japan, joining Australia and Canada in a tie for third place. The USA leads with five, followed by the Republic of Korea with four.
Minjee Lee continues to lead the race for the Vare Trophy (and that all-important Hall of Fame point) with a sparkling 69.167. Hyo-Joo Kim has moved into second with 69.474, the expected battle between Jin Young Ko and Nelly Korda has not materialized. Nelly is running 7th at 69.815, while Ko is a distant 12th at 70.00.
Lydia Ko's top ten finish this past weekend was her 8th of the year, joining Atthaya Thitikul and Hye-Jin Choi for the LPGA lead. Celine Boutier got her 7th. Lydia also has seven top five finishes, no one else has more than five.
There are nine regular players on the LPGA Tour to not miss a cut this year. They are: Lydia Ko (28 straight cuts made overall) Jin Young Ko (Also 28) Xi Yu Lin (23) Georgia Hall (23) Hye-Jin Choi (21, counting her starts as a non LPGA member) Minjee Lee (18) Nelly Korda (16) Chella Choi (15) Hannah Green (13)
Celine Boutier made the biggest splash in the Rolex Rankings this week (25 to 17). Ayaka Furue jumped into the top 25 (30 to 18), replacing Yuka Saso (22 to 26) who fell out. Other players who made significant moves: Alison Lee 63-53 Lilia Vu 65-56 Minami Katsu 72-59 Cheyenne Knight 126-90
I think this is a different starter than that old guy who created HoJo's nickname and rarely got an Asian name right. This guy has had plenty of opportunities, but I haven't heard him mangle a name yet.
Much chatter this AM on what The New Ko is doing wrong ... trying to swing a little too hard from the top, over-drawing the ball into a left-to-right wind, blah, blah, blah ... you can't visit all 147 bunkers in one day, but she's trying.
What's with the ski caps on a few these heads? Accuweather says the current temp is 64F
Shibuno Fever looked really good early this AM ... hitting UT and FWs into the greens at almost perfect distances. There has not been a huge weather difference between AM and PM if you consider the current leaderboard.
Morgan Mother of Pearls said she was really surprised to see so many Japanese names lighting it up since this course is nothing like the kind of courses she played in Japan.
Really good rounds again by In Gee Chun and Hye Jin Choi who made birdie the last two holes. Inbee Park had a nice round of her own at minus two.
So Yeon even with an eagle, two birdies and three bogeys. For some reason So Yeon follows a birdie with a bogey. She only missed four greens with thirty two putts.
I don't pay too much attention to players coaches. So Jin Young Ko has been switching Coaches. Is that what she was doing for a Month practicing doing the off season. I don't understand a player that breaks records of rounds in the sixties, rounds under par. Oh yeah, throw in there five wins. That's not good enough, I need to change this great swing for more yardage I guess. It's not working right now, 4 fairways hit, nine greens,133 driving avg and 32 putts.
Too be earnest Min Ji Lee kind of hit the ball all over the course. She was a little lucky with a pitch in, ball bouncing up hitting the flag and making long putts. However that's part of the game.
Nice opening round for In Gee. The big challenge will be, can the Sisters prevent somebody from running away from the field tomorrow? But it starts with a good first round.
Inbee also had a rare nice round. Her putting still isn't fantastic, and that might end up getting her, but for now it's nice to see her again.
Hye Jin had a double, but also five birdies, and carded a 69. Decent starts for Six, A Lim and So Yeon as well. Inky is at even, too.
Sei Young and Hyo Joo didn't do too well, but they looked great compared to Jin Young. Well, I did say last week I felt like it was close to 0% chance she was going to win this week. I have no idea what's going on with her, but hopefully she will get herself back on track before the end of the season.
The KLPGA's Jung Min Hong shot a 73.
P.S.: Did the JLPGA make a back door payment? It felt like every Japanese player had a prime TV tee time, even the ones not on the LPGA. Six, Ryu, A Lim -- all Major winners -- didn't make even one appearance that I saw.