REUTERS – American duo Ryann O’Toole and Angela Stanford grabbed the first round lead at the Toto Japan Classic on Friday, but the final leg of the LPGA’s Asian swing proved a step too far for Spaniards Azahara Munoz and Beatriz Recari.
Munoz and Recari were stuck in Bali and missed their tee time after volcanic ash spew caused one of Indonesia’s busiest airports to close for two days and cancel almost 700 flights.
Their absence made room in the field for Ayako Uehara, but the Japanese could only muster a two-over-par 74 to sit well off the pace set by the lead American pair who both carded seven-under 65s.
Uehara’s playing partner Kim Ha-neul was among a quartet of South Koreans, along with Jenny Shin, Lee Ill-hee and Jeon Mi-jeong, who shared third after 66s, while world number three Stacy Lewis was a further shot back on five-under.
American Michelle Wie, struck down with food poisoning in Japan, looked on course for a competitive score as she reached four-under through 10 holes only for a double bogey six on 15 to halt her charge. She eventually signed for a two-under 70 and a share of 32nd.
The $1.5 million 54-hole no cut tournament at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club in Shima is the last of the LPGA’s five-leg Asian swing.
The women’s circuit heads to Mexico next week for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational followed by the season-ending Tour Championship in Florida.
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O’Brien)