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Park In Bee wins Daikin Orchid, Miyazato falters

Date Posted: 2011-03-13

South Korea’s Park In Bee rallied from a three-stroke deficit entering the final round of the Daikin Orchid Ladies Professional Golf Tournament in Okinawa over the weekend, taking advantage of local favorite Ai Miyazato’s failure to miss the cut at the Ryukyu Golf Club for the first time since she won the event in 2004.

The 22-year-old Bee fired a six-under-par 66 Sunday to win by three strokes by posting an 11-under 205 for the weekend event. Bee, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion, began the day three strokes behind Saiki Fujita, then reeled off five birdies on the front nine, finishing with seven birdies as she picked up the ¥14.4 million first prize.

South Korea’s Park In Bee opened the 2011 Japan LPGA season in the same way she finished last year, with a win. The 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion shot a 6-under 66 Sunday to win the Daikin Orchid Ladies by three strokes with an 11-under 205 total at Ryukyu Golf Club in Okinawa Prefecture.

Miki Saiki posted a 68 to finish second, while South Koreans Song Bo Bae and Lee Bo Mee were tied for third at 7 under after rounds of 67 and 70.

The Daikin Orchid’s biggest news story, though, was Ai Miyazato’s failing to make the cut, her first ever in Japan since winning the 2004 Japan Women’s Open, and only the third time in her career. Playing in front of the hometown fans, the 25-year-old Higashi Village native wound up with a second round 1-over 73 to place her at 5-over 149, two strokes below the cut margin.

Miyazato was plagued by birdies, tallying two in the first three holes, while wrapping the day with only a single birdie. ‘‘I didn’t play bad today,” she said, “but it was just hard to make up ground after shooting 4 over in the first round. ‘My putts lipped out about six times over the last two days. Things might’ve been different if some of them had gone in.’‘

Miyazato, who held the world’s top ladies golf spot last year and now sits in sixth place, was playing in Okinawa following a dismal week in Pattaya, Thailand, where she attempted to defend her Honda LPGA Tournament title from 2010; she failed, finishing 29th. Miyazato was contemplative, though. “Something like this happens sometimes in a long career,” she said. “I just accept this result and see what I can do next. The season has only started.”


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