Sports Outside the Beltway

Breakthrough- Ai Miyazato wins the Evian Masters

It was her first LPGA win. From AP-

Ai Miyazato of Japan has won the Evian Masters with a birdie on the first playoff hole, beating Sophie Gustafson of Sweden to clinch her first victory on the LPGA Tour.

Miyazato steadied herself and sank a putt from about 6 feet on Sunday after Gustafson had missed her birdie putt from the edge of the green.

Miyazato shot a 3-under 69 in the final round and Gustafson had a 2-under 70 as both finished at 14-under 274.

Gustafson could have won on the 18th hole when her eagle putt stopped right on the edge of the hole.

I am happy Ai won. One of my golf predictions has finally come true, if a little bit belatedly.

Miyazato came on the LPGA Tour in 2006 after dominating the JLPGA. As a result, much was expected from Ai. Her first three years on the LPGA were solid, but she couldn’t get that first elusive victory. The closest she came was a loss to Seon Hwa Lee in the finals of the 2007 HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship. Lee won the 2006 Rookie of the Year award many golf prognosticators predicted would go to Miyazato.

Of the last eight LPGA tournament winners, seven have come from Asia. Next week is the British Open, and I’ll predict the streak becomes eight out of nine. My pick for the last major of the 2009 LPGA season- In Kyung Kim. She finished tied for 3rd at the U.S. Open, tied for 8th at Evian, and is one of the top five money winners this year.

The Constructivist is more than ecstatic about Ai Miyazato’s victory in this blog post.

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