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Pro-Am play kicks off Daikin Orchid

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2008-03-07

Japan’s up and coming lady golf professionals are lining up for a shot at the Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament championship trophy, including Okinawa’s a young lady from Nago City.

Shinobu Moromisato, who only this year turned pro, heads into the tournament vieing against the nation’s top prize money winner, Momoko Ueda, and defending Daikin Orchid champion Sakura Yokomine. Also joining the pack of more than 50 top lady golfers are top seeded Midori Yoneyama and Miho Koseki.

The 2008 Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament kicks off tomorrow at Ryukyu Golf Club in Tamagusuku. The event is a 54-hole stroke play tournament. The bulk of the participants are drawn from the Japan Ladies Golf Association members, with amateurs rounding out the field. The top 50 competitors move to Sunday’s final round.

Okinawa’s own Moromisato won her first championship in the Japan Women’s Open last year, and ranked 7th in last year’s play. Three other Okinawa beauties, Ayako Uehara, Yayoi Arasaki, Hiroko Miyasato join Moromisato on the links for the 21st annual Daikin Orchid event.

The Daikin Orchid is sponsored by Daikin Kogyo Co., Ltd., and RBC Broadcasting Company, with support from Okinawa Prefecture, Naha and Nanjo Cities, the Okinawa Prefecture Kanko Convention Bureau and Tokyo Broadcasting Company.. Today’s action at the host Ryukyu Golf Club is a Pro-Am Tournament. More than 200 golfers are expected to participate, with nearly a dozen amateurs.

A total of ¥80,000,000 is on the line in the 20th Daikin Orchid event, with ¥14,400,000 going to the winner. There are also special prizes being awarded, including a room air conditioner by Daikin, a Daikin dehumidifier and a Yamaha fishing boat. Ryukyu Broadcasting is presenting a special Orchid Pictures Tray and the Prefecture Governor’s Prize is a specially crafted Ryukyu glass sculpture.

TBS is broadcasting the three-day event live across Japan.

Tournament action gets under way with 8 a.m. tee times tomorrow, leading into the final 54 holes over the weekend. Spectator advance tickets are ¥3,000, while special three-day set tickets, including a luncheon coupon, run ¥3,900. Single day tickets at the gate are ¥2,000 Friday and Saturday, and ¥3,000 for the Sunday final round.

Tickets are available at all golf clubs and golf shops, at Ryubo Department Store, Okinawa Mitsukoshi Department Store, Coop Okinawa, Family Marts and Lawsons. There are parking aras for the galleries at Ryukyu Country Club, and shuttle buses will run from parking areas to the golf course.

Students are getting in on the Daikin Orchid action this year. Hikari Kawamitsu, Japan Women Students Golf Tournament champion, and Miki Uehara, who won the Amateur Golf Tournament Championship, will be participating. Three local youngsters get their first taste of professional golf at Ryukyu Country Club this year. Mamiko Higa, who’s only a 14-year-old junior high school student, will join Satoko Sawada, 15, a Naha City junior high school girl, and Motobu High School’s 17-year-old Masayo Yonamine. There are nine Okinawa players participating in this year’s tournament.

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