Date: September 06, 2010
Author: Paul Melville

LPGA of Japan – IIJIMA WINS GOLF 5 LADIES TOURNAMENT IN PLAYOFF

(6 September 2010 – Mizunami, Gifu Prefecture, Japan)

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Akane Iijima, another one of Japan&aposs enormously talented young golfers became the fourth dual winner of the season with victory at the Golf 5 Ladies Tournament on Sunday. This time it took a birdie on the second playoff hole to secure victory over good friend, practice partner and regular visitor to Australia, Ayako Uehara. Both players finished regulation at 12-under with another pair of Japanese one shot back in a tie for third; Mako Wakabayashi and Yukari Baba.
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rnUehara entered the final round at 9-under par, holding a one shot lead after firing a tournament record 9-under par 63 on day 2, with Iijima and Korean Eun-A Lim one shot back in a tie for second. Four players including Baba and Shinobu Moromizato were tied for 4th at 7-under par and the tournament was anyone’s with the potential for low scores evidenced throughout the week.
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rnUnfortunately for Lim, she never got going on the final day and faded to a tie for 35th after dropping five shots over her final six holes. Baba never got closer than two shots of the lead until the her final hole birdie and Wakabayashi also finished strongly but couldn’t manage any birdies over the final holes to join the leaders. In essence, most of the final day was taken up with a battle between Uehara and Iijima.
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rnEarly on, it appeared it would be Iijima’s day as she skipped out to a two-shot lead with four birdies and a bogey on the front nine saw her move to 11-under par. However, shortly after the players made the turn, it was a vastly different leaderboard with Uehara picking up birdies on both the opening two holes of the back nine, whilst Iijima fell one behind at the 11th after a bogey. She quickly made up for that with back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th holes and once again found herself in the outright lead.
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rnA birdie at the 16th hole saw Iijima with a two-shot buffer with two holes to play, however, the 17th was crucial with a two-shot swing as Uehara made birdie and Iijima a bogey. The players were now both on 12-under par with one hole to play, which they both parred to force the playoff. In the end, a birdie at the second extra hole gave the 27-year old her second win for the season and the sixth of her burgeoning career. Afterwards she said, “I&aposm so happy I won today. Ayako was having a terrific round, which really motivated me because we&aposve been practicing together and talking about how great it would be if we could face each other in a playoff — and it really happened. I just hope can keep playing this way week in, week out.” The win moves Iijima to third on the money list which is headed by Korea’s Sun-Ju Ahn, another of this season’s dual winners.
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rnNikki Campbell left her run just a little too late as she scorched around the Mizunami Country Club course in a round of 7-under par 65 to finish two shots behind the winner at 10-under par and in a tie for 5th. She moved up to 11th on the Money List with ¥36,138,475 (approx. AUD$467,225) in year to date prizemoney.  She is well on her way to surpassing her best result on the end-of-year Money List from last year where she finished 10th with just in excess of ¥50million. Tamie Durdin also made the cut finishing in a tie for 43rd at even par.

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Photo courtesy of LPGA of Japan.