Akie Iwai takes opening lead in Japan

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TOTO Japan Classic R1
Posted on
November 2, 2023
The Editorial Team in ,
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Akie Iwai made the most of the ideal conditions at the Taiheiyo Club Minori Course on Thursday. A three-time winner on the JLPGA this season, Iwai shot a 9-under 63 to tie the tournament 18-hole scoring record, which was last shot by Shanshan Feng on the Minori Course in 2017.

“Not only the fairways and greens but also the rough are very beautiful this week. I like it very much and it makes me feel like I could play well this week,” said Iwai of her record-tying round. “It is going to be a very tough birdie chasing game this week, but I want to build a new record.”

Iwai made birdies on her first three holes before dropping her only bogey of the day on No. 4. She made the turn in 33 thanks to another birdie on No. 9, then made two pars on 10 and 11 before the real fireworks began. An eagle on the par-5 No. 12 quickly put her at 5-under overall, then she sank another birdie on 13 to move to 6-under.  She ended the day with three straight birdies on 16, 7 and 18, including a 15-foot long birdie putt on the last to give her the solo lead heading into the clubhouse.

“Yes, indeed,” said Iwai when asked if today’s was a comfortable round. “It has been a while since I had a comfortable round last time. Actually, my shots are not consistent today but try not to think negatively. It works today.”

Hometown favourite Nasa Hataoka, who hails from the Ibaraki area and lives just 20 minutes away from the Minori Course, also finished her day with three straight birdies for a first-round total of nine, the most in the field. A six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, Hataoka sits in T2 alongside LPGA Tour rookie Yuna Nishimura, who tied her low-round on the LPGA Tour with her Thursday 64. They share the T2 spot with JLPGA player Mone Inami, who won the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after defeating Lydia Ko in a playoff.

China's Yu Liu, the only non-Japanese player in the top-5, and JLPGA player Shiho Kuwaki round out the top-5 at 7-under overall.

Pos.PlayerTo ParR1
1Akie Iwai-963
T2Nasa Hataoka-864
T2Yuna Nishimura-864
T2Mone Inami-864
T5Shiho Kuwaki-765
T5Yu Liu-765
T7Hikaru Yoshimoto-666
T7Sora Kamiya-666
T7Xiyu Lin-666
T10Gemma Dryburgh-567
T10Ayaka Furue-567
T10Jenny Shin-567
T10Rio Takeda-567
T10Ai Suzuki-567
T10Seon Woo Bae-567
T10Mi Hyang Lee-567
T10Shoko Sasaki-567
T10Fumika Kawagishi-567
T10Yan Liu-567
T10Albane Valenzuela-567
T21Miyuu Abe-468
T21Jiyai Shin-468
T21Rose Zhang-468
T21Hana Lee-468
T21Eun-Hee Ji-468
T21Erika Hara-468
T21Yuka Nii-468
T21Mao Saigo-468
T21Momoko Ueda-468
T21Mami Fukuda-468
T21Jasmine Suwannapura-468
T21Lauren Coughlin-468
T21Linnea Strom-468
T21Yuri Yoshida-468
T21Saki Nagamine-468
T36Miyu Sato-369
T36Minami Katsu-369
T36Nanna Koerstz Madsen-369
T36Sakura Koiwai-369
T36Lindy Duncan-369
T36Yuka Saso-369
T36Narin An-369
T36Paula Reto-369
T36Chanettee Wannasaen-369
T36Erika Kikuchi-369
T46Hannah Green-270
T46Arpichaya Yubol-270
T46Dani Holmqvist-270
T46Stephanie Meadow-270
T46Maria Fassi-270
T46Jennifer Kupcho-270
T46Hinako Shibuno-270
T46Miyu Yamashita-270
T46Pajaree Anannarukarn-270
T46Serena Aoki-270
T46Minami Hiruta-270
T46Sayaka Takahashi-270
T46Andrea Lee-270
T46Shuri Sakuma-270
T46Lala Anai-270
T61Emily Kristine Pedersen-171
T61Kokona Sakurai-171
T61In Gee Chun-171
T61Mao Nozawa-171
T61Sarah Kemp-171
T66Nana SuganumaE72
T66Chisato IwaiE72
T66Hyo Joo KimE72
T66Celine BorgeE72
T66Gina KimE72
T66Yuka YasudaE72
T66Sarah SchmelzelE72
T66Saiki FujitaE72
T74Morgane Metraux173
T74Danielle Kang173
T74Peiyun Chien173
T74Esther Henseleit173
T74Bailey Tardy173
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TOTO Japan Classic 2023

Date: November 2nd - 5th 2023

Location: Taiheiyo Club (Minori Course), Omitama, Ibaraki, Japan

Purse: $2,000,000

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