NAGOYA (Japan) March 25, 2012:
Today, the Hirao Country Club was at the receiving end of strong winds of over 70 miles an hour and Yu was the only player to submit her score with an under-par score (70). The rest of the players including yesterday's leader Yui Mukaiyama were blown away by the winds. Mukaiyama shot a 7-over today to finish joint third with compatriots Mori Miho and Mina Nakayama and Korea's Lee Na-ri and Grace Lee.
Yu who missed the cut at the Thailand Ladies Open in February, could have confirmed her win early had she not three-putted her last two holes as yesterday's first and second placed Mukaiyama and Shimokawa had three more holes to complete. However, the two could not fare any better and in the last two holes and that allowed Yu to clinch her professional title.
"Really I did not expect this, especially after three-putting the 17th (missed a one-yard for a par) and 18th holes. But lucky for me Megumi and Yui did not make any progress having two more holes to play," said Yu, adding that the win has given her additional zeal to train even harder.
"No! I'm not going to have any big celebration other than to watch a movie on my iPhone," said Yu whose best finish was a 4th place at the Hitachi Open in Chinese Taipei in early January.
Shimokawa, now known as a "silver collector" after finishing back-to-back second placing said it was "so near and yet so far".
"It's been five years since I turned professional and I came close to breaking the duck in Miyazaki last month but was edged by Mami Fukuda, and now over here I was edged by Yu. Two runner-up finishes, I guess I must train harder to improve my mental strength," she Shimokawa who shot a 5-over 77 today.
Mukaiyama, who has a disasterous 79 today, said there was no pressure on her going into play with a one-stroke lead, "but nothing went my way as I was struggling with the strong winds".
Meanwhile, there was joy for Japan's Saori Ikushima who aced the 146-yard par 3, Hole 11. She used a rescue iron to hit the ball to about five yards before the pin before seeing the ball roll hit the pin and fall into the cup.
"This is my sixth hole-in-one but the first in a tournament," said Ikushima, who received Yen 1,000,000 (USD13,000) from sponsors Sushi for her effort.
Leading final scores (Japanese unless stated)