SINGAPORE | It can’t get any better than this
for Ai Miyazato. Two tournaments in, two
tournaments won. Eight rounds played, eight
rounds under par. Maybe the best golfer from
Japan isn’t named Ryo.
The 24-year-old’s victory in the HSBC
Women’s Champions also placed her in select
company. She became the first player in 44
years to sweep the first two tournaments of the
LPGA season, joining Hall of Famers Marilyn
Smith (1966), Mickey Wright (’63), Louise Suggs
(’52) and Babe Zaharias (’51).
“I feel honored to be among those great win-
ners,” Miyazato said. “This is obviously a great
start for me, but the LPGA is such a tough Tour,
and it’s also very tough to keep winning. I try to
stay in the present in what I do and that’s really
helping my game at the moment.”
Unlike her season-opening win last week at
the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand, where she rallied
from a six-shot deficit on the final day to overtake
Suzann Pettersen, Miyazato carried a share of the
lead into the final round at Tanah Merah’s Garden
Course with 49-year-old Juli Inkster. While Inkster,
seeking to become the oldest winner in LPGA his-
tory, fell from contention with a 2-over 74, Miyaza-
to shot 69 to hold off a charging Cristie Kerr.
Miyazato’s 72-hole total of 10-under-par 278
was two shots clear of Kerr, who shot 68 on
Sunday. Miyazato earned $195,000.
Kerr, a 12-time LPGA winner, was 6-under
through 16 holes and tied for the lead, but er-
rant drives on the last two holes led to bogeys.
“I was playing great, and I know better to
miss it left on 17,” Kerr said. “I was fortunate
to actually get a shot at the green because I
was standing in fire ants. And I should have hit
3-wood off 18 tee, but I was fortunate to make
bogey. You live and learn, I guess.”
As many as nine players were tied for the
lead early in the day following bogeys on the
first and second holes by Miyazato and Inkster.
In the end, Kerr stood as Miyazato’s biggest
obstacle. But after Kerr closed with bogeys on
her last two holes, Miyazato, two groups behind
Kerr, made easy pars at 17 and 18 to claim her
third LPGA title in the past six months. She won
the Evian Masters last year in France.
HSBC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS
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Patience Pays Off For Davies In New Zealand
The final round of the Pegasus New Zealand
Women’s Open played at the Pegasus Golf Course
matched two ends of the spectrum, the young Aus-
tralian Sarah Kemp vs. the veteran Laura Davies
from England. Kemp got out of the blocks early,
but the experienced Davies kept to her game plan
and stayed patient. “With Kemp’s start you just
know good players are going to do that, and you
have just got to wait your time,” Davies said.
In the end, Davies’ patience paid off and she
was rewarded with a two-stroke victory. It was
her 73rd worldwide. Kemp’s bogeys on 11 and
14 proved to be the difference as Davies shut the
door with a birdie on 16. Davies posted a final-
round 68 for a winning total of 9-under-par 279.
Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg fired a course-
record 9-under 63 in the final round to jump into
a tie with Kemp for second place at 7-under 281.
Afterward, Lindberg rued too little too late. “I
should have won the tournament by six or seven
shots if I had have holed some putts yesterday
and Friday,” Lindberg said.
But the day belonged to the 46-year-old Da-
vies. “Today is my eighth straight sub-par round,
so it is a decent start to the year,” she said. “I love
to play and I love to win, this is what it’s all about
as far as I am concerned.” RESULTS
From Staff and Wire Reports