Record level of competition! Women’s Professional Golf – Inami Wins or Rising Star Rise? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Record level of competition! Women’s Professional Golf – Inami Wins or Rising Star Rise?

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The domestic women’s professional golf season has begun. This season marks a major milestone. The criteria for seeding and qualification were changed from prize money ranking to “Mercedes Ranking. Sportswriter Myung-Woo Kim explains.

Mone Inami (22)

Mone Inami (22), who won about 250 million yen last season, became the first prize money queen. Will she be able to achieve her goal of “80% par-on-percentage” this season? In the opening round, she was paired with Yuna Nishimura and Mao Nishigo.

The new system is to assign points to the number of rounds played and the standings in each tournament, regardless of the prize money. This system was introduced to correct the disparity that existed in the previous “prize money queen” system. From this season, it has become important to consistently play in tournaments and achieve results, regardless of the size of the tournament.

Who will be the first to adjust to the new system and become the first queen? Fumiko Muraguchi, a professional golfer and commentator, predicts that Moene Inami, 22, last season’s prize money queen, will be the first queen under the new system.

Her greatest strength is her amazing par-on success rate, which stands at 75%. This number was the highest among all players. The secret to her ability to consistently hit the greens lies in the overwhelming amount of practice she puts in, averaging up to 10 hours of training a day, and even the day after a victory she swings the club as usual. The stoic way in which he faces his golf game is mind-boggling. He shows not the slightest sign of pride, and is probably the leading contender to win the championship this season.

However, even absolute queens have their weaknesses. That is the recent change in the ranking system. Mr. Kim is concerned about the bakudan that Inami is facing.

In the latest ranking system, which requires constant results, injuries are a major enemy. Inami developed back pain in mid-October at the end of last season. He missed a series of matches. This season, he will continue to battle with Bakudan. I think one of the key points will be how to get through the summer series of games, which are very physically demanding,” he said.

Inami brought in a new sports trainer this off-season and is recovering from back pain. Standing in her way is Sakura Ogoshi (23), last season’s 3rd place finisher in the money ranking.

Sakura Ogoshi, 23, who finished third in last season’s money list, is in a tough position. “Last season, I was leading the money list with four wins by the end of August, but I failed to qualify for the next round and unexpectedly lost a lot of ground. She must be more eager than anyone else for revenge. She has played in all the tournaments every season since her second year as a professional in 2006, and her experience of playing through a whole year of competition will be a big advantage under the new system. Under coach Haruyuki Tsujimura, who has coached Momoko Ueda (35) and others, her bunker shot, her only weak point, has improved dramatically. The field is in good shape to take back the championship title.

There are other promising stockists as well. Atsushi Akasaka, a member of the Japan Golf Journalists Association and a sports writer, recommends Yuri Yoshida (21) from the “Platinum Generation” born in 2000.

He just made his professional debut in 2008, but he won two matches last season. His explosive power is appealing, as he showed on the last day of the Rakuten Super Ladies, where he won for the first time, with eight birdies. This season, “GOLFZON” and “Wellcia Pharmacy” have become sponsors, which must have increased her sense of responsibility. We can expect even more excitement from them.

Another member of the “Platinum Generation” is Yuna Nishimura (21), who finished fifth in the money-grabbing competition last season.

She is petite at 150 cm, but her straight and accurate driver is her weapon. Last year, she was named “Beauty of the Year” by Shiseido and the Japan Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association, and her cute looks also attracted the audience.

Rising stars are appearing one year below the “Platinum Generation. Mr. Akasaka tells us.

Mao Saigo (20), in her rookie season last year, finished in second place seven times, and suddenly found herself in fourth place on the money list. When I met her last fall, she had a thicker body compared to her high school days. He seems to be training very hard under the guidance of Jumbo Ozaki. If he wins one match, he could gain momentum and win again.”

All eyes will be on whether last season’s queen will show her class or whether the newcomers will make the first year of the new system more exciting.

Sakura Kohogi (23)

With five wins last season, she has emerged as a candidate for the next heroine. The opening round, “Daikin Orchid Ladies,” is the course she won last year. She hopes to gain momentum with a win.

Sakura Kohori (23) Last season: 3rd in the money ranking / 3rd in the Mercedes ranking

Yuri Yoshida (21)

Like Sakura Ogoshi, she plays under the tutelage of the famous coach Akishi Tsujimura. Last year, she achieved her first win on the domestic tour. Her high putting accuracy is her weapon.

Yuri Yoshida (21) Last season: 22nd in the money ranking/22nd in the Mercedes ranking

Yuna Nishimura (21)

In his debut season last season, he suddenly marked four wins. With over 110,000 followers on Instagram, she is also attracting attention visually.

Yuna Nishimura (21): 5th in the money ranking and 4th in the Mercedes ranking last season.

From the March 18, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images (Inami, Nishimura) Yoshimasa Nakano/Getty Images (Yoshida) Nikkan Sports/Afro (Koganei)

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