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Birdie chip leads Ai Miyazato to victory in LPGA season opener

Date Posted: 2010-02-25

Trailing by six strokes going into the final round of the Honda PTT LPGA tournament, Ai Miyazato rallied on the final hole to win the season opening event in Pattaya, Thailand.

Miyazato had lagged behind Norway’s Suzann Pettersen in the third round and well into the final session before kicking into gear with birdies on three of the last six holes to tie a tournament record set in 2007 by Petterson. “I didn’t think of winning,” says Miyazato. “I was just focused on my game and trying to do my best in the final round.”

The Okinawa gal holed a birdie chip on the final hole for a 9-under-63 and a one-stroke victory over Pettersen. “It was my lucky day, as no matter what I did, it was right. The victory,” says Miyazato, “is a good start of the season for me.” She picked up a $195,000 purse with the win, her second LPGA Tour title. She won the Evian Masters in France a year ago.

Miyazato began her run for the win with a birdie on the par-4 sixth hole, then eagled the par-5 seventh and tossed in birdies on the ninth, tenth and eleventh holes to trip Petterson’s lead to a single stroke. She tied things up at 20 under on the 15th, then pressed her case to the final hole, where the birdie did the job. Petterson had tried to force a playoff on the par-5 18th, but missed her 23-foot eagle try.

Taiwan’s Yani Tseng was third with a 15-under 69. Karrie Webb and Cristie Kerr followed at 13 under par. Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa had to settle for 18th, while Michelle Wie finished with a 69 to tie for 22nd at five under. Shinobu Moromizato was in36th, while Mika Miyazato finished at 2 over. Mika is no relation to Ai Miyazato.

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