KITAHIROSHIMA, Japan – Yuri Fudoh overturned a one-stroke deficit with two holes remaining to capture the 90 million yen (about US$1 million) Meiji Chocolate Cup.
The six-time winner of the Japan LPGA Tour Money List appeared likely to settle for second place when she trailed Korean Lee Ji-woo after 16 holes on Sunday..
But the 33-year-old Fudoh drew level when her Korean rival dropped a shot at the short 17th and then edged ahead with a dramatic 22-foot birdie putt on the final green.
“My legs kept shaking, even after it was over,” Fudoh said. “It was really an exciting way to win a tournament.’’
204 – Yuri Fudoh (JPN) 69-67-68
205 – Lee Ji-woo (KOR) 68-69-68
206 – Saiki Fujita (JPN) 71-70-65; Yui Kawahara (JPN) 68-69-69
208 – Mie Nakata (JPN) 71-70-67
209 – Ritsuko Ryu (JPN) 70-71-68
210 – Hiromi Mogi (JPN) 69-72-69; Lee Ji-hee (KOR) 71-70-69
211 – Rui Kitada (JPN) 69-73-69; Ayako Uehara (JPN) 71-70-70
213 – Song Bo-bae (KOR) 72-72-69; Akiko Fukushima (JPN) 66-75-72; Hiromi Takesue (JPN) 70-70-73; Mayumi Shimomura (JPN) 71-69-73
Fudoh posted a 4-under-par 68 over the Sapporo Kokusai Country Club’s Shimamatsu Course. That gave her a 54-hole total of 12-under 204 and a one-stroke success over Lee, who also signed for a 68.
It was the 48th Japan LPGA Tour title for Fudoh, who had ended a 19-month victory drought in May’s Chukyo TV Bridgestone Ladies Open, and her second Meiji title in three years.
Yui Kawahara and fellow Japanese Saiki Fujita, who surged up the leaderboard with a bogey-free 65, tied for third at 10-under 206.
Half-a-dozen of the Japan LPGA Tour’s leading players were absent this week, taking part in the U.S. Women’s Open.
Fudoh, who soared to the top of the 2010 money list, said her main goal now is to add to her tally of major championships in Japan – her last came at the 2005 Japan LPGA Championship. “I’d like to win a major, rather than winning the money title,’’ she said.
In current form, she might do both.