Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Sunday: Rikako Morita Eagles 17 for Win

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When 3rd-round leader Rikako Morita double bogeyed the par-5 9th to fall back to -10 for the week at the Daio Paper Elleair Ladies, she suffered a 3-shot swing on playing partners Ji-Hee Lee and Momoko Ueda, who all of a sudden led her by 3 and 2 shots, respectively.  Meanwhile, Asako Fujimoto had fired a bogey-free 33 from the group ahead of them to get to -11, her playing partner Sakura Yokomine had birdied 3 of her last 6 holes on the front to catch Morita at -10, and, playing from several groups ahead, Mamiko Higa had birdied 5 of her 1st 11 holes to join them.

Morita responded with birdies on 11 and 12 to catch Lee and Ueda (who bogeyed 10), but Higa birdied 13 and 15 to join them at -12 and Fujimoto maintained her 1-shot lead on them with birdies on 11 and 13.  Meanwhile, Yukari Baba made 5 birdies in an 8-hole stretch in the middle of her round to also get to -12.

But then Fujimoto and Morita separated themselves from the field.  First Baba, then Ueda bogeyed 14 to drop to -11.  Higa birdied the par-5 17th to get to -13, but bogeyed the final hole to finish the tournament at -12 after a final-round 66.  Fujimoto birdied 17 to get to -14, but Morita birdied the par-3 16th to remain only 1 shot back.  As Fujimoto was parring 18 for a 66 of her own, Morita struck with an eagle on 17 that gave her the lead.  And when she parred it, her bogey-free 31 on the back had earned her her 4th title of the season and 1st since mid-June.  And it also moved her back to the top of the JLPGA money list.

More soon!

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