2-time defending JLPGA Player of the Year Sun-Ju Ahn of South Korea won the 2012 World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup in a three-way playoff over Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel. Ahn’s win is her 9th JLPGA victory in only 2 years and a few months on the Japanese tour. She successfully defends her title at the Salonpas Cup in a playoff that featured 3 JLPGA Major winners. Morgan Pressel won the 2010 Salonpas Cup while Inbee Park won the 2010 JLPGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup. Additionally, both Pressel and Park have also won Majors on the LPGA, Pressel at the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship and Park at the 2008 US Women’s Open.
Especially missing a great opportunity to add the her trophy case was Morgan Pressel. Through 2 rounds (not counting the rained-out opening round) she was 11-under, bogey-free and holding a 2 shot lead. A birdie on 6 in the final round pushed her to 12-under. Then it all fell apart. Bogeys on 8, 11, 12 and 14 put Morgan in full reverse, allowing the field to catch her. Sun-Ju Ahn caught her by playing even par while Inbee Park chased her down with a 4-under 68.
In the end, it was the JLPGA’s 2-time reigning Player of the Year Sun-Ju Ahn who would knock in a six-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to solidify her position as the cream of the JLPGA crop. Two of the challengers to that mantle who play the JLPGA full-time, Mi-Jeong Jeon and Chie Arimura both faded. Well, MJJ faded. She started the day 8-under like Ahn, but fell back with a 2-over 74. Had MJJ just shot even par, she would have been a part of the playoff. Chie Arimura didn’t fade, she plummeted. After starting the tournament with a 6-under 66, Chie followed up with a 2nd round 2-over 74 and a final round 7-over 79 to free-fall into a tie for 43rd. Still, Chie is coming off a win at the Cyber Agent Ladies. Sometimes a player, even a superb one like Chie, has a tournament to forget. I expect Chie to move on and win again this season. Ending on a more positive note, I was very happy to see Moriya Jutanugarn, one half of Thailand’s Jutanugarn Sisters, finished tied for low amateur with Kyu-Jung Baek. Hopefully, one day both Moriya and sister Ariya will be members of the LPGA Tour.
JIYAI SHIN and MORGAN PRESSEL
KYU-JUNG BAEK and MORIYA JUTANUGARN (tied for low amateur)