LPGA heading to Japan

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This week’s Mizuno Classic in Japan will wrap up a four-tournament Asian Swing on the LPGA Tour.

This week’s Mizuno Classic in Japan will wrap up a four-tournament Asian Swing on the LPGA Tour.

The swing started with the HanaBank Championship in South Korea at the start of October, moved on to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and was followed by the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Now things will wrap up in Japan starting on Friday, as a quality field get set to challenge for the long-running $1.2 million Mizuno Classic, which returns to Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club in Shima-shi, Mie.

The no-cut field features 78 professionals from the LPGA and Japan LPGA, and the winner will walk away with $180,000, with $109,523 going to the runner-up.

Jiyai Shin of South Korea is the defending champion, and she’ll be hoping to pick up her first win with a successful defence of the title she won last year by edging out Yani Tseng by two shots.

Shin, a two-time winner of the Mizuno Classic, has six top-10 finishes so far this year, including two runner-up finishes at the Kia Classic and at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

“I have played a little bit up and down and have not won this year,” said Shin.

“I’ve had some injuries. My lower back has had pain since two months ago. It is [inflammation] in my discs. I went to an Asian hospital and I don’t have to have surgery. I am taking medicine and stretching.”

She’s looking forward to starting her bid for a third Mizuno title, however.

When I come back here, I only have good memories,” said Shin.

“I have lots of confidence here, so I can’t wait for the week to begin. And this year, I signed up to play with Mizuno golf clubs. I think the clubs like this course, too.”

Shin will face some stiff competition from two local ladies, Ai Miyazato and Mika Miyazato, who will be eager to impress in front of their home fans and pick up a first Mizuno title.

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