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The JLPGA completed its own final stage of Q-School last week, but I’m only just now getting around to figuring out the results. There were no prominent names from other tours trying to break into the JLPGA, unlike, say, 2010. Neither Saiki Fujita nor Ayako Uehara competed, which either means they’re not going to be members in 2014 or they got some special status for next season and didn’t have to go to Q-School. [Note: See comments for corrections and details! If you have google translate, see this, too!] Nor did Shinobu Moromizato or Tamie Durdin. So who did compete and how did they do?
19-year-old Hikari Fujita
was the medalist at -9. She’s been among Hokkaido’s finest since she’s been in elementary school, it seems, but hasn’t done anything super-special on a national stage until last week.
Young-Joo John (or Jeon or Jun) finished 6 shots back after going +3 over her final 10 holes. I don’t know anything about her, so any history would be much appreciated.
came in 3rd after matching cards with her compatriot (she went +5 over her final 10 holes). She’s been playing on the JLPGA since 2005 without much success, although she did finish 40th on the money list in 2012.
came in 4th at -2. The 40-year-old has been on the JLPGA since 2001, but has never cracked the top 60 on the money list.
20-year-old Kumamoto native Haruna Taguchi
came in 5th after matching cards with Yamamoto (she followed up an eagle on the par-4 9th in the final round with 3 bogeys in her next 7 holes before bouncing back with a walkoff birdie). Her amateur career
wasn’t as impressive as Fujita’s but she did finish in the elite 8 in the 2012 Japan Women’s Amateur Championship.
had an unimpressive start to her JLPGA career this season, finishing 80th on the money list, but she finished just ahead of Okinawan Satsuki Oshiro
, who tied her at -1 with a walkoff birdie. Oshiro has been playing on the JLPGA since 2010
but has never cracked the top 55 on the money list.
Among those at E were Erina Yamato
, who’s been trying to break into the JLPGA since 2010 but has finished inside the top 100 on the money list only once thus far, Saki Okamura
, who premiered at #75 on the money list this season, and veteran Nobuko Kizawa, who’s been playing on the JLPGA since 1991.
Familiar names further down the leaderboard who should get full playing status next season include Bo-Bae Song (+2, 13th), Mayumi Shimomura (+2, 15th), Yayoi Arasaki (+2, 17th), Yuko Saitoh (+3, 20th), Porani Chutichai (+3, 22nd), Yun-Jye Wei (+4, 25th), Na Zhang (+4, 26th), and Ji-Woo Lee (+5, 30th). Song and Zhang are 2 of the players I’m most excited about in the entire field–it’s a big deal that Zhang, in particular, who’s been plagued by back injuries for years, will be returning to the JLPGA.
Players like So-Hee Kim (+6, 31st), Natsu Nagai (+6, 33rd), Aoi Nagata (+6, 34th), Yui Mukaiyama (+8, 36th), Shiho Toyonaga (+8, 39th), and Megumi Shimokawa (+9, 41st) should get into their fair share of events in 2014.
Not so fortunate were Mihoko Iseri (+11, 49th), Ai Suzuki (+11, 52nd), Jessica Speechley (+11, 53rd), 21-year-old Kotono Kozuma (+13, 61st), Mikiko Nishi (+14, 65th), and Sakurako Mori (+15, 70th), who’ll be struggling to cobble together a full schedule on the JLPGA in 2014.