Monday

Momoko Ueda: Pearly Gates Golf Girl Wins Mizuno Classic

Momoko Ueda 2011 Mizuno Classic           Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty Images
Like other uplifting golf stories of the past weekend Momoko Ueda's emotional win at the Mizuno Classic was eclipsed by what's now known in polite circles as the "William's Flap".  Blame the golf media or the social networks... or human nature... for that, but it's the way things are these days:  bad behavior... ignorant, inflamatory outbursts and old fashioned drunken debauchery will always trump the feel-good narrative.  You don't have to be a Kardashian to know that.

For Momoko Ueda however, the weekend was about a long awaited win. Her first victory since the 2009 AXA Ladies Open and her first career win as LPGA member.  It was an emotional win that came with a 15-foot birdie putt in a playoff with China's Shanshan Feng.

"I was starting to think I'd never win again," said Ueda, who earned her LPGA Tour card victory at this same tournament in 2007.  "It's been a tough four years in America."  Rough, but worth it,  for the talented 25-year-old player the lad mags have labeled "hot golfer chick" and called "so cute it's painful".

As usual, the bloggers at Mostly Harmless covered the Mizuno Classic from start to finish... with insider's eyes.  Their posts are always a great way to get a feel of the Asian tournaments.  Then there's the exuberant Bankok Bobby, he has some great Mizuno Classic photos and video on his blog.

I just want to make a brief mention of Momoko Ueda's sartorial style, because as many around the world have noticed... it's awesome.  And this goes along with a recurring obsession theme here at Golf Girl's Diary: the Japanese are designing the most exciting golf apparel out there and the Asian players are wearing it in ways that transcend the sport.

Pearly Gates Autumn 2011
Pearly Gates, Momoko Ueda's apparel sponsor, is a golf brand from Sanei International,  one of the hippest fashion conglomerates in Japan.  You need only have a look at their 2011 Autumn catalog to appreciate the way this company manages to mix golf apparel traditions with both urban grit and runway chic. The result is... quite simply... golf fashion. Something we're just beginning to discover on this side of the Atlantic.

Granted, the fact that much of the golf played in Japan takes place in urban areas... at ubiquitous multi-tiered driving and in chic indoor centers... allows designers to push the envelope in ways that probably wouldn't fly at conservative suburban country clubs in this country,  but you've also got to look at the way Ueda, and other players, wear the brand in competition.  What you see are outfits that look professional, functional, comfortable and uber-stylish.  All at the same time... and I think that's what lot's of us US hackers recreational golfers are looking for. 

In any case we'll happily be seeing more of Momoko on these shores, among other things her move from outside the top 48 on the money list to #33 has secured her a 2012 Sybase Match Play spot.

For more on Momoko... and her singular style sense:

Momoko's multi-chromatic website
A Quick 18 with Momoko Ueda
Air Magazine - Interview with Momoko Ueda
Sunny Side Up Momoko's Very Cool PR People
Momoko Ueda - My Favorite Things
Momoko Ueda - Nail Art