Posted by: happyfan08 | December 4, 2009

2009 Kyoraku Cup Day 1

Day one of the Kyoraku Cup has been completed, and there is no other way to put it than this: it was a total rout.  The Korean team took no prisoners, and by the end of the day they had claimed 10 of the 12 matches for a prohibitive 20-4 lead.  They only need 25 points to win the Cup, meaning just two wins and a draw on day two.  It was perhaps the most dominating performance in the history of the Cup, all the more surprising given the strength of the Japanese team this year, playing on home soil.

The first round was a stroke play contest, and So Yeon Ryu got things off to a great start by defeating Yuri Fudoh 72-74 (this being a par 73 course, the scores to par were -1 and +1).  But perhaps the Japanese should have known things weren’t going their way when the second match finished.  This pitted Jung Eun Lee, winner of this year’s KLPGA Championship, against top veteran Akiko Fukushima.  Fukushima had a one shot lead with one hole to play, but Lee birdied the final hole, Fukushima bogied, and the win went to Korea.

The romp continued in match three.  Bo Bae Song, this year’s winner of the Japan Women’s Open, shot the low round of the day, a scintillating 7 under 66, to crush Miho Koga by 6 strokes.  I had mentioned in my preview that Song was perhaps Korea’s secret weapon, and she sure delivered on day one!  Fellow JLPGA stars Ji Hee Lee and Mi Jeong Jeon also won their matches, giving Korea the first five straight wins before Miki Saiki defeated Eun Ah Lim to put Japan on the board.

Bo Bae Song

Things were looking grim for Japan, but the key matches were the next two, as they featured Japan’s two biggest stars, Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine.  Miyazato was paired against Eun Hee Ji, the US Women’s Open champ.  That Major victory had been a great win for Ji, but she has struggled since then, while Miyazato has been playing the best golf of her life.  But on this day, Ji still triumphed, gaining her first ever point in this competition by beating the native Okinawan by two.

Eun Hee Ji

The marquee match of the day pitted KLPGA superstar Hee Kyung Seo against top JLPGA player Sakura Yokomine.  Yokomine has the nickname ‘the Korean Killer’ for her tradition of beating all Korean competition in this tournament.  Yokomine played well, carding a 3 under 70, but nobody could stop Seo on this day.  She shot the second best score of the day, a 5 under 68, to beat Yokomine by two. 

Hee Kyung Seo

The next two matches showed just how badly the luck was turning against the Japanese.  Na Yeon Choi was pretty handily beating her opponent Yukari Baba when they reach the 18th hole, a par 5.  Baba pitched her third shot to a couple feet, while Choi put her third well past the hole and off the green.  But Choi chipped in for birdie while Baba lipped out.  Another two points for Korea.

Then there was Jiyai Shin.  The superstar had only won once in four tries at this event, and with two holes to go, she was one of the few Koreans losing her match.  Down one to her opponent Ayako Uehara, the final two holes were par fives.  Shin nearly reached the green in two on 17 and made birdie to tie Uehara.  On 18, she hit her third shot from the rough to a foot for another birdie, while Uehara ran her birdie try past the hole.  Shin thus moved ahead on the final hole to capture the win and two more points.

Jiyai Shin

In Kyung Kim won her match to move Korea to 20 points before JLPGA star Shinobu Moromizato stopped Bo Mi Lee for only the second win for Japan (even there it wasn’t easy – Lee chipped in for birdie on 16 just like Choi had done on 18!).

Korea can’t afford to get complacent; they need to come out on Saturday and quickly get the job done.  But they can be proud of their amazing performance on Friday.  Good luck to them in their quest to regain the cup for the first time in four years!

Team Korea on day one


1 Win So Yeon Ryu 72 2 Loss Yuri Fudoh 74 0
2 Win Jung Eun Lee 5 73 2 Loss Akiko Fukushima 74 0
3 Win Bo Bae Song 66 2 Loss Miho Koga 72 0
4 Win Mi Jeong Jeon 72 2 Loss Erina Hara 74 0
5 Win Ji Hee Lee 68 2 Loss Momoko Ueda 71 0
6 Loss Eun Ah Lim 74 0 Win Miki Saiki 71 2
7 Win Eun Hee Ji 70 2 Loss Ai Miyazato 72 0
8 Win Hee Kyung Seo 68 2 Loss Sakura Yokomine 70 0
9 Win Na Yeon Choi 69 2 Loss Yukari Baba 73 0
10 Win Jiyai Shin 71 2 Loss Ayako Uehara 72 0
11 Win In Kyung Kim 70 2 Loss Chie Arimura 72 0
12 Loss Bo Mi Lee 71 0 Win Shinobu Moromizato 67 2
Round 1 Result Korea 20 Round 1 Japan 4  

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