Three JLPGA members are in position to become just the 10th Japanese player to win the Mizuno Classic as they share the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. First-round leader Shiho Oyama, Yuki Ichinose and Mamiko Higa lead the field at 8-under 136 and edge Asako Fujimoto and LPGA Tour member Brittany Lincicome by one stroke.
Oyama maintained her lead as she posted her second 4-under 68 round at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club. The 13-year JLPGA veteran says luck is on her side as she seeks her 13th career victory.
“I came this far so I’m definitely going for it tomorrow,” said Oyama. “My caddie this week caddied for Bo-Mee Lee and she won last week so I think the luck is on my side. Hope to make the best out of tomorrow with my partner.”
Ichinose and Higa entered Saturday’s round in a tie for 11th after posting 2-under 70s during the opening round. Higa’s blemish-free 6-under round brought her to 8-under for the tournament while Ichinose carded seven birdies and one bogey to take a share of the lead.
“My putting felt really comfortable before the round and that gave me the confidence to play strong today,” said Ichinose, who earned her first JLPGA victory earlier this year. “I really enjoyed today’s round with Mamiko Higa, if she makes birdie then I make birdie, it was just like that all day.”
Sitting one stroke behind the leaders is Brittany Lincicome, whose stress-free 4-under-par 68 round brought her within striking distance heading into tomorrow’s round. Lincicome nearly carded her first bogey of the day on the par-5 18th hole when she overshot the green on her third stroke. Lincicome pitched her fourth shot 12-feet past the hole, but drained the putt to save par.
Lincicome is looking to end a two-year winless drought this week as she seeks to capture her sixth-career LPGA victory. Her latest win came at the 2011 CN Canadian Women’s Open when she was one-stroke off the lead heading into the final round and defeated Stacy Lewis by one-stroke. Lincicome says she prefers a come-from-behind victory and is comfortable in the spot she’s in this week.
“It’s nice to be up there,” said Lincicome. “Being in the last group always adds a little pressure. Not being in the last group, I think I play best or I’ve won the most from. It will be fun to go out tomorrow. If I keep doing the same things I’ve done the last two days, it should be really close. It should be a good Sunday.”
A group of four currently sits in a tie for sixth place at 6-under and includes Taiwan native Teresa Lu, Japan’s Junko Omote and South Korea’s Chella Choi and Eun-Bi Jang.
Defending champion and Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis made a charge up the leaderboard and fired a 4-under 68 to sit in a five-way tie for 10th at 5-under 139.
Topics: Mizuno Classic