Sometimes good things come in small packages. Yukari Baba, the diminutive 4′ 10″ JLPGA golf star, stood tall as the winner of the 2011 Japan Women’s Open, the third Major on the LPGA of Japan schedule. In scoring her third JLPGA victory, Baba overcame a tough week that saw 12-over as the winning score. 70 was par on the Nagoya Golf Club Wago Course. Of the top 10 finishers, which included great players like Ai Miyazato and Sakura Yokomine, only 1 round was under par the entire week, Baba’s second round 1-under 69. She was tied on the final hole with Ritsuko Ryu at 12-over, but a bogey by Ryu surrendered victory to Yukari!
2010 JLPGA Player of the Year looked like she might have solved the course early on with birdies on holes 2 and 3. Those birdies were soon wiped out by a double bogey on the par 4 6th. Although Sun-Ju rebounded with a birdie on 7, she succumbed to a back 9 4-over to finish the round at 3-over 73 and 13-over for the tournament, tied for second with Ritsuko Ryu. Amazingly, Yukari Baba’s 6-over 76 was enough to hang on for a 1 shot victory. Luckily, she went into Sunday with a 4 shot lead.
YUKARI BABA (+12, 1st place)
SUN-JU AHN (+13, tied 2nd place)
RITSUKO RYU (+13, tied 2nd place)
NACHIYO OHTANI (+14, tied 4th place)
JI-HEE LEE (+14, tied 4th place)
AI MIYAZATO (+15, 6th place)
BO-BAE SONG (+16, tied 7th place)
SAKURA YOKOMINE (+17, tied 9th place)
MIKA MIYAZATO (defending champion, finished +21, tied 20th place)
MI-JEONG JEON (+17, tied 9th place) and YURI FUDOH (+24, tied 29th place)
SOO-YUN KANG (+23, tied 25th place)
MAMIKO HIGA (low amateur, finished +26, tied 35th place)