With only two events left before the CME Group Tour Championship, LPGA players in Japan are making a strong push to secure their spot to compete for a $7 million purse and $2 million first-place prize at the season-ender.
2022 Toto Japan Classic champion Gemma Dryburgh is among those players. The Scot is currently 60th on the CME points list. The top 60 and ties after The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican advance to Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.
JLPGA player Akie Iwai, currently No. 36 in the world, paces the field after Round 1 of the Toto with a 9-under 63. A three-time winner in Japan, Iwai tied the tournament’s 18-hole scoring record last shot by Shanshan Feng on the Minori Course in 2017.
Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, a six-time winner on the LPGA, holds a share of second at 8 under.
Here’s a closer look at how those trying to clinch a spot at the CME got started in Japan:
Rookie Celine Borge, a 25-year-old who took a share of third at Evian, shot 72 and is T-66. She’s currently 56th on the CME points list.
Swiss player Albane Valenzuela opened with a 67 in Japan and is tied for 10th. The former Stanford standout has three top-10 finishes this season, including a share of fourth at the Chevron.
One week after taking a share of third in Malaysia, Jasmine Suwannapura shot 68 in the first round of the Toto to hold a share of 21st. A two-time winner on the LPGA, Suwannapura sits at 59th on the CME points list, up from 84th last week.