(Kiryu, Gunma Pref., Japan)
Japanese youngster Maiko Wakabayashi has collected her first LPGQA of Japan title with a come-from-behind victory at the SANKYO Ladies Open over the weekend. She fired a final round 4-under par to finish at 8-under par total 208. Her score was three shots better than Korea’s Ji-Hee Lee and overnight leader Hiromi Mogi who finished in a tie for 2nd at 5-under par. Australia’s Nikki Campbell posted her second Top-5 in as many weeks, finishing in a tie for 4th.
Wakabayashi, who won the U17 World Junior Championship in 2005, started the final round three shots behind Mogi. She posted six birdies against two bogeys in her round but didn’t take the lead until the 10th hole, and from there was never headed. She sealed the victory with a birdie on the 17th to take a two-shot cushion into the last hole, which Mogi bogeyed to give Wakabayashi her three-shot victory margin. At 20 years and 125 days, Wakabayashi became the sixth youngest winner on Tour and continues the rise of the young brigade on this tough tour. Afterwards she said, “I’m so happy. I just tried to play my golf throughout the day.”
Campbell, the only Australian in the field continued her good form after finishing in a tie for 5th at last week&aposs Japan Women’s Open. Her final round 2-under par 70 saw her move up from a tie for 15th heading into the final round. However, it was not looking great after nine holes on the last day after making the turn at 2-over before storming home. Her final nine holes saw her post five birdies against one bogey to climb the leaderboard to finish in a tie with regular visitor to Australia; Japan’s Ayako Uehara. Campbell’s ¥4,950,000 prize cheque saw her move up to 33rd on the money list with ¥20,737,377 (approx. AUD$306,560.00) in season’s earnings.