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Shiho Oyama made 4 birdies in her 1st 7 holes of the 1st round of the Daio Paper Elleair Ladies, but stood only at -1 on the 12th tee. Still, she stayed the course and started making birdies again, 4 of them in her last 7 holes, including 3 in a row for the 2nd time in her round, which gave her a bogey-free 32 on the back and left her alone at -5 atop the leaderboard.
With the likes of Ji-Hee Lee at -4, Yuri Fudoh, Bo-Mee Lee, and Momoko Ueda at -3, and Rikako Morita and Sun-Ju Ahn at -2, Oyama’s got her work cut out for her over her next 54 holes. But at least she’s opened up a 6-shot lead on money-list leader Sakura Yokomine, who has to worry about Teresa Lu (E) and Mi-Jeong Jeon (-1) as well as Morita, Lee, and Ahn who are close behind her in the race for the money-list title. Miki Saiki (+4) has to first worry about making the cut before she can hope to challenge Yokomine or Oyama.
There were a lot of interesting rounds out there. Ueda erased an early double with an eagle on the 479-yard par-5 17th, but bogeys on 14 and 18 offset birdies on 15 and 16. (Jeon was the only other player in the field to make an eagle today, and she, too, got hers on 17.) Amateur Haruka Morita opened the back (her front) with a bogey-free 32 and bounced back from a pair of hiccups at the turn with a walkoff birdie to join the big group at -3 and finish 1 shot ahead of her big sister.
Seeing as how the 2nd round is going to start soon, however, I’d better stop there and turn my attention to the LPGA’s final event!