Nobuta Group Masters GC Ladies Sunday: Sakura Yokomine Wins for 3rd Time in 2013, 21st in JLPGA Career

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Sakura Yokomine (71, -12) became the 2nd player on the JLPGA to break the 100 million yen barrier in season winnings when she held off Sun-Ju Ahn (69, -9), Momoko Ueda (69, -8), and Shanshan Feng (70, -8)  to take the Nobuta Group Masters GC Ladies for the 2nd time in her career.  When her initial 5-shot lead on Ahn (courtesy of a moving-day 63) did shrink to 3 shots early on the front and midway through the back, Yokomine responded with back-to-back birdies on both sides, icing her 3rd victory of 2013 and the 21st of her career.

Yokomine is now within striking distance of money-list leader Rikako Morita for the 1st time all season as Morita opened with a 40 today and dropped out the top 20 only 36 holes after she held the lead in this event.  Morita got passed by fellow young guns Misuzu Narita (67, -6), Maiko Wakabayashi (68, -4), and Harukyo Nomura (67, -3), while big names Shiho Oyama (71, -6), Bo-Mee Lee (70, -5), Ayako Uehara (71, -3), and Ji-Hee Lee (71, -2) also moved into the the top 20.  Just like on the LPGA and KLPGA, the JLPGA now has a really tight race for end-of-season honors.

1. Rikako Morita ¥104.66M
2. Sakura Yokomine ¥100.87M
3. Miki Saiki ¥79.74M
4. Yumiko Yoshida ¥71.87M
5. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥71.83M
6. Natsuka Hori ¥64.27M

7. Mamiko Higa ¥64.06M
8. Teresa Lu ¥60.89M
9. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥59.90M
10. Bo-Mee Lee ¥57.74M
11. Na-Ri Lee ¥57.11M
12. Ritsuko Ryu ¥50.90M
13. Yuki Ichinose ¥44.87M
14. Misuzu Narita ¥44.45M
15. Erika Kikuchi ¥44.22M
16. Onnarin Sattayabanphot ¥43.92M
17. Da-Ye Na ¥42.05M
18. Yukari Baba ¥41.27M
19. Soo-Yun Kang ¥40.94M
20. Junko Omote ¥39.91M
21. Esther Lee ¥38.45M
22. Kumiko Kaneda ¥37.55M
23. Asako Fujimoto ¥37.52M
24. Hiromi Mogi ¥36.88M
25. Shiho Oyama ¥35.70M
26. Miki Sakai ¥33.44M
27. Harukyo Nomura ¥33.40M

28. Mayu Hattori ¥33.27M
29. Ji-Hee Lee ¥32.22M
30. Yuri Fudoh ¥31.45M
31. Na-Ri Kim ¥31.04M
32. Rui Kitada ¥30.10M
33. Maiko Wakabayashi ¥29.73M
34. Erina Hara ¥28.80M
35. Kaori Ohe ¥26.29M
36. Megumi Kido ¥24.93M
37. Lala Anai ¥23.81M
38. Young Kim ¥23.50M
39. Kaori Nakamura ¥22.36M
40. Akane Iijima ¥21.60M
41. Eun-Bi Jang ¥20.67M
42. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥20.58M
43. Yuko Fukuda ¥19.30M
44. Phoebe Yao ¥19.15M
45. Shanshan Feng ¥18.16M
46. Kaori Aoyama ¥18.01M
47. Yuki Sakurai ¥17.68M
48. Yun-Jye Wei ¥17.11M
49. Ayako Uehara ¥16.69M
50. Saiki Fujita ¥16.47M

The top 50 keep their cards for 2014, so it’s worth noting that Momoko Ueda is at #55, Yuko Mitsuka at #60, Ji-Yai Shin (who missed the cut this week) is at #62, Bo-Bae Song at #66, Li-Ying Ye at #68, Shinobu Moromizato at #70, Hyun-Ju Shin at #71, Ai Miyazato at #78, and Chie Arimura at #122.  

Next up for the JLPGA is the Hisako Higuchi Morinaga Weider Ladies, named after one of the top players in the history of the JLPGA and the 1st Asian woman to win an LPGA major, which Mi-Jeong Jeon won for the 3rd time in her career last season.  Along with the JLPGA’s finest playing next week (except for Sun-Ju Ahn), Shanshan Feng and Momoko Ueda will continue their quests for cards and Mika Miyazato will be competing on tour for the 1st time since winning the Japan Women’s Open.  Should be another interesting week!  Let’s see how Morita responds to Yokomine’s challenge!

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