Miyazato is on top of the world
A closing 64 earned Ai Miyazato the ShopRite LPGA Classic – and also rocketed her to No 1 women golfer in the World.
A closing 64 earned Japan’s Ai Miyazato the ShopRite LPGA Classic title ahead of South Korea’s MJ Hur at the Dolce Seaview Resort on Sunday.
It also promoted her to the number one spot on the Rolex Women’s Official World Ranking list ahead of Korea’s Jiyah Shin.
Birdies at the second, third and fifth holes moved Miyazato into contention early on the final day and she maintained her momentum, gaining four more shots in a blemish-free round to finish 16 under par for the three days and hold off Hur – despite the latter birdying the last three holes.
She said: “I had such a good round today. I couldn’t make birdie on the first hole, but I got a good start on the second hole and that kept the round going.
“I saw that MJ (Hur) made birdie on 16 and 17 so I said to myself, okay, I need one more swing and one more good putt. It was good self talk, and I was really in control of myself.”
The win, one day after her 25th birthday, lifts Miyazato to the number one spot in this week’s new world rankings and she continued: “When I started playing in the States, that’s when I really started thinking about being number one, and that became a dream of mine, and now that I am number one, I still can’t believe it.”
Overnight leader Hur was two shots back on a leaderboard dominated by Asian players, with her fellow Koreans Inbee Park and Han Hee-won finishing third and joint fourth respectively.
Hur said: “I finished second, I think it’s good because I played a good final round, but Ai played really good and did much better than me.”
Sweden’s Suzann Pettersen and Katherine Hull of Australia finished level with Han on 11 under, with Paula Creamer alone in seventh on 10 under in her first tournament back following a four-month lay-off with a thumb injury.
Creamer said: “If someone was going to say you’re going to play in the lead group in your first tournament back out in whatever, how many months, I would take it in a heartbeat.
“I didn’t win but I played great.”
First-round leader Sherri Steinhauer was joint 12th on eight under, meaning she is still seeking her first top-10 finish since returning from a 16-month hip injury absence which she had feared could end her career.
Scotland’s Catriona Matthew was Britain’s leading finisher at six under after a level-par final round.
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