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JLPGA Tour standout takes second round lead in Japan
November 03, 2012

Bo-Mee Lee, -10, Rolex Rankings No. 46
Rikako Morita, -6, Rolex Rankings No. 41
Karine Icher, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 37
Jenny Shin, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 45
Angela Stanford, -4, Rolex Rankings No. 20
Yani Tseng, -3, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Jiyai Shin, -3, Rolex Rankings No. 7

Bo-Mee Lee, a KLPGA and JLPGA Tour standout, shot an 8-under 64 to take the second-round lead at the Mizuno Classic. Lee followed up her 2-under 70 on Friday with eight birdies and no bogeys in Saturday’s round and moved to 10-under-par for the tournament. She holds a four-stroke lead over JLPGA member Rikako Morita and six-stroke lead over a group of five including Jenny Shin (@JennyShin_LPGA), Karine Icher (@KarineIcher), Na Yeon Choi (@nychoi87), Angela Stanford (@Angela_Stanford) and Ayako Uehara.

A four-time winner on the KLPGA since joining the tour in 2009, Lee obtained her JLPGA card in 2011 and captured her first victory earlier this season at the Yokohama Tire PRGR Ladies Cup. The South Korean plans to continue her pursuit on the JLPGA next season and doesn’t plan to accept the LPGA status she would be offered should she continue to be the leader through tomorrow’s final round.

“Actually, I want to focus on the JLPGA next year,” said Lee. “I don’t have any plans to go to LPGA. But I will think about trying for it again in two or three years.”

In 2010, Lee earned KLPGA Player of the Year honors over Hee Kyung Seo and and So Yeon Ryu after leading the tour with the lowest scoring average and earning more than $550 million.

In the 1980s, Japan’s Ayako Okamoto became a national hero, winning 17 LPGA tournaments and 45 international events. She made LPGA history when she was named Rolex Player of the Year in 1987, becoming the first international player to win the award. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005 and currently serves as a mentor to many JLPGA players. One of them includes Rikako Morita, who trails behind Bo-Mee Lee at 6-under through the second round.

Morita says the biggest difference between her first and second round was sinking a few more birdie putts, carding five of them and an eagle opportunity on 13, and gives all the credit to her mentor.

“There were times that I couldn’t make my short putts and I tried to figure out what exactly I was doing wrong,” Morita says about Friday’s first round. “Asked for advice from other players and in the end I talked to Ms. Okamoto and she told me that I have been looking at the club head too much and I should just keep my eyes still. It may seem like a small advice but it greatly helped me.”

Surrounding nearly every hole at the Kintestu Kashikojima Country Club is a sellout crowd passionately watching their favorite LPGA and JLPGA players. In her second visit to the Mizuno Classic in her 10-year LPGA career, Angela Stanford says she has never been more impressed with women’s golf fans at an international event.

“These fans are amazing,” Stanford said. “I was really impressed today. This is only my second time in Japan professionally, and I mean they are really tremendous. There are a lot of them and they are really knowledgeable. They know what’s going on and they cheer on everybody, a little bit louder for the Japan players. But that’s what you want. It’s an awesome atmosphere.”

Stanford remains at the top of the leader board firing rounds of 69 and 71 and enters the final day tied for third with five others at 4-under-par. The Texan captured the HSBC Women’s Champions title in Singapore earlier this season, where made a charge in a sudden death playoff with four others. She says she’ll channel that aggression into tomorrow’s round with hopes of capturing her sixth top-10 this season.

"I think I’m going to be playing a little more aggressive than the last two days,” Stanford said. “I think these last two days I’ve tried to hang around, but I think I’ll be a lot more aggressive tomorrow.”

CME Titleholders hunt: Five players will have the opportunity this week to earn one of three qualifying spots up for grabs for the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. Sophie Gustafson (@SophieGustafson), Jimin Kang (@JiminKang1), Gerina Piller (@GerinaPiller), Jennifer Song (@TheJenniferSong) and Alison Walshe (@Walsheyyy) are all in the field and have yet to qualify for the final event of the year. The second-annual season finale will be held Nov. 15-18, 2012 at The TwinEagles in Naples, Fla. with a field made up of three qualifiers from every LPGA Tour tournament.

JLPGA member Rikako Morita carded an eagle on the par-5 13, sinking a 10-foot putt after a 195-yard second shot with a 5-iron…Defending champ Momoko Ueda shot even-par today and sits at 3-under-par and tied for eighth with eight others including Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng, No. 2 Stacy Lewis and No. 7 Jiyai Shin.

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