Saiki survives late charge to capture Itoen title
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
CHIBA, Japan – Miki Saiki withstood a late charge Sunday from Mie Nakata to win the Itoen Ladies Golf Tournament.
Despite a nervy back nine, Saiki eked out a one-shot victory for her second Japan LPGA Tour career title. Saiki closed with a 3-under 69 for a 54-hole total of 10-under 206.
Nakata claimed sole possession of second place thanks to a bogey-free 67, while Korean Lee Na-ri was a further shot back in third after suffering her only bogey, on the final hole.
Korean Ahn Sun-ju strengthened her grip at the top of the Japan LPGA money list following a best-of-the-day 66 that lifted her into a share of fourth.
Saiki was quickly into her stride on the final day, picking up shots at Nos. 1, 5, 6 and 8 to reach the turn at 4 under. But a bogey on No. 10 gave hope to her pursuers. Although Saiki birdied No. 14, a dropped shot at the par-3 17th ensured a tense climax.
Three birdies on the front gave Nakata a chance to catch Saiki. She maintained her challenge with further birdies at Nos. 13 and 15 but was unable to force one more birdie that would have taken the contest into extra holes.