KAPOLEI, HAWAII | Ai Miyazato is perhaps the
most famous and most popular female golfer in
Japan, evidenced by the fact that she is con-
stantly followed on the LPGA Tour by a horde of
Japanese reporters and photographers. On Sat-
urday, she gave them something to write about.
Miyazato took command of her putter late
in the final round to break away from the pack
and win the LPGA Lotte Championship on
Saturday. Miyazato captured her eighth career
victory on the LPGA Tour with a four-shot win
over Meena Lee and Azahara Munoz.
Miyazato, a former world No. 1, shot a final-
round 70 for a 12-under total of 276, 12-under
par at the par-72 Ko Olina Golf Club on the is-
land of Oahu. Miyzato tied for the second-round
lead with a 7-under 65 and led or shared the
lead throughout the rest of the tournament.
In a rare Saturday finish on the LPGA Tour,
Miyazato was in a three-
way tie for the
at 10 under
when her putter
birdies on three of her final six holes – the
13th, 15th and 17th – while Munoz sputtered
and Lee couldn’t keep up.
Munoz, who shared the second-round lead
with Miyazato after an 8-under 64 – the low
round of the tournament – made two bogeys on
the back nine to fall out of a tie for the lead and
finished with Lee in second place at 8 under.
Lee made double-bogey on the 18th hole to
create the final margin of victory.
Miyazato finished tied for 56th at the Kraft
Nabisco Championship and her father, who is her
swing coach, offered a couple of putting tips. She
weakened her grip and made a slight change in
her setup and the results were striking.
“He gave me a couple of tips, so I worked
really hard with the two tips in the last couple
of weeks,” she said. “Now, it’s perfect rolling.”
Miyazato took home the winner’s share of
$255,000 of the $1.7 million purse and she
stands in second place on the money list with
$629,783, just behind leading money winner
Yani Tseng, who struggled to a Sunday 74 and
finished eight back in a tie for 10th.
Munoz, who was the rookie of the year in
2010, matched her career best finish on the
LPGA Tour. She made three birdies on the front
nine in the final round but faded at the end.
“That’s what we practice for,” said Munoz.
“I’ve been missing this. At the end of last year,
I was in the last group a couple of times and I
love it. That’s why
we play golf.”
Staff and Wire
Ai Miyazato celebrates her victory
in the LPGA Lotte Championship by
dancing the hula.
The LPGA returns to the Crossing Course on the
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove.
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