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Miyazato chalks up 3rd title of year in Mexico

Date Posted: 2010-05-06

Ai Miyazato has picked up her third Ladies Professional Golf Association title of the year, firing a 6-under-67 to win the Tres Marias Championship by a stroke on Sunday.

The feisty 24-year-old chalked up a 19-under-273 overall, playing an emotional tournament that was LPGA leader Lorena Ochoa’s finale before retirement. Stacy Lewis of the U.S. shot a 66, and Michelle Wie finished third, two strokes behind Ai-chan. Miyazato opened the year with back-to-back wins first in Thailand and then Singapore, after winning her first major, the Evian Masters, last year in France.

The Higashi Village native was impressive, with birdies on six of seven holes between No. 8 and No. 14 to stretch her lead to 20 under. What was she thinking as she contemplated the win? “With all these great players in the world, I don’t know who is going to be No. 1,” she said, “but if I do as well as Lorena has done throughout the years, I think I could be No. 1 just like her.”

The emotional Miyazato had been chosen by Ochoa to be her playing partner the first two rounds. “I want to say thanks to Lorena,” said Miyazato. “She is one of my best friends,” said Ai-chan as she began crying. “I’m going to miss her.” Miyazato broke down in tears during the trophy ceremony on the 18th green as she thanked Ochoa, who was standing a few yards away wiping tears from her own eyes. Ochoa, who won the Tres Marias Championship three of the past four years, has held the LPGA No. 1 ranking since April 2007.

LPGA projections show Ochoa will likely fall from the number one position following Sunday’s loss, with South Korea’s Ji Yai Shin moving to the top. Ochoa is expected to be ranked number 2, with Ai Miyazato moving up to the third spot.

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