Yuki Sakurai Leads Shanshan Feng in Japan, While Ashleigh Simon, Veronica Zorzi, and Holly Clyburn Lead in China


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Even as Tony Jesselli updates us on the LPGA’s most pertinent stats and facts, the JLPGA is competing in Chiba and the LET is in China for the 2nd week.

Here’s how the Hisako Higuchi Morinaga Weider Ladies leaderboard looks after the completion of the 1st round:

-6 Yuki Sakurai
-5 Shanshan Feng, Asako Fujimoto
-4 Junko Omote, Erina Hara, Ayaka Watanabe, Kaori Nakamura
-3 Miki Saiki, Sun-Ju Ahn, Soo-Yun Kang, Mayu Hattori…
-2 Ji-Yai Shin, Bo-Mee Lee, Yuki Ichinose, Na-Ri Kim, Da Ye Na…
-1 Mika Miyazato, Mamiko Higa, Kumiko Kaneda, Phoebe Yao…
E Mi-Jeong Jeon, Momoko Ueda, Ritsuko Ryu, Erika Kikuchi, Yukari Baba, Saiki Fujita, Maiko Wakabayashi, Lala Anai…
+1 Sakura Yokomone, Bo-Bae Song, Akane Iijima…
+2 Rikako Morita, Ji-Hee Lee, Shinobu Moromizato, Yuko Mitsuka…
+3 Yuri Fudoh, Rui Kitada…

Sakurai has been an up-and-comer for more than 5 years, but has struggled as a pro.  Still only 24, she played in Europe for awhile and has been playing full-time on the JLPGA for the 1st time in her career this season.  It’s been either feast or famine for her in 2013, as she has 2 silver medals but has also missed the cut loads of time, including 4 in a row to start the season, 5 in a row in the middle of the season, 2 in a row heading into this week, and 5 times in her last 7 starts.  At #47 on the money list, she needs to finish strong to keep her card in 2014 without having to go back to Q-School.

With the top 2 on the money list (Morita and Yokomine) well down the leaderboard, the pressure’s on Sakurai to stay ahead of Feng and the rest of her lead chase pack!

Meanwhile, in the China Suzhou Taihu Open, the leaderboard looks almost as interesting:

-7 Ashleigh Simon, Veronica Zorzi, Holly Clyburn
-6 Nikki Garrett
-5 Carlota Ciganda, Line Vedel, P.K. Kongkraphan, Jing Yan
-4 Kristie Smith, Tania Elosegui, Christine Song, Stacy Lee Bregman
-3 Gwladys Nocera, Becky Brewerton, Felicity Johnson, Maria Hernandez, Nontaya Srisawang, Na Zhang…
-2 Charley Hull, Cindy LaCrosse, Anne-Lise Caudal, Sarah Kemp…
-1 Lee-Anne Pace, Linda Wessberg, Ye Na Chung…
E Lindsey Wright, Hannah Jun, Li Ying Ye…
+1 Laura Davies, Tzu Chi Lin, Marianne Skarpnord, Numa Gulyanamitta, Frances Bondad…

I wonder if Lydia Ko’s joining the LPGA in 2014 has made Hull regret her decision to stay on the LET for at least one more year?  Me, I’m surprised that Na Zhang, who was great on the JLPGA years ago but injured her back and has never been the same golfer, beat Hull by a shot today.

Wondering what other surprises are in store for the weekend!

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