Purse record ¥100 million for JLPGA Daikin Orchid

Last year’s winners smile with their trophies, Rikako Morita (right) and the best amateur Hina Arakaki.

Groundskeepers are putting the finishing touches on the Ryukyu Country Club course in preparation for the 27th annual Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament this weekend, and the hot talk’s split between whether last year’s winner can repeat, or if the predicted heavy rains will create havoc on the fairways and greens Sunday.

Shinobu Moromisato has participated in Daikin Orchid every year since 2000, except 2003, winning her best place in 2010 when she finished 2nd.

This year’s Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament participants will be smiling even more if they win, because the winner takes home ¥18 million this year, compared with ¥14.4 million won by Rikako Morita last year.  Second place is worth ¥8.8 million and third place ¥7 million. The tournament actually kicks off today with the Pro-Am Tournament at Ryukyu Golf Course south of Naha City.  Tee-off for the first round of the 54-hole tournament is Friday 7th at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th the tee-offs begin at 8 a.m. Tickets for the first and second day cost ¥2,000, final day tickets are ¥3,000, and are available at all golf courses, driving ranges and golf shops, Ryubo, Okinawa Mitsukoshi, Coop Okinawa stores and Lawson and FamilyMart convenience stores.

This JLPGA has strict rules for spectators.  Cell-phones must be on the silent mode, no photos or video taping are permitted, no high-heel shoes are permitted on or near the course.  There’s NO parking at the club house. Parking is available at Nishihara Marine Park, with a free shuttle bus running frequently.

The Daikin Orchid total purse is ¥100 million. The 50th place earns ¥320,000. Among participants is Shinobu Moromisato, whose best finish in Daikin Orchid was her 2nd place in 2010. She has participated every year since 2000, except 2003. Other Okinawans are Nana Yamashiro, Mamiko Higa, Satsuki Oshiro and Yayoi Arasaki.

The Tournament is sponsored by Daikin Industries Ltd.  The top 50 competitors move to the final round on Sunday.  That round is televised by Japanese networks.  A popular feature of the Daikin Orchid is its mainly volunteer staff.  More than 450 ladies donate their services to make the event a success.  Daikin Bounty, a fundraising event promoting Okinawan culture, sports and entertainment, is also a part of the Daikin Orchid event.  The group has raised more than ¥200 million over the past few years, donating funds to private and educational related Okinawa groups.