Sports Outside the Beltway

Ai Miyazato wins HSBC Champions in Singapore

The #4 player in the world has won the first two LPGA tournaments of 2010 From AP-

Ai Miyazato won the HSBC Champions on Sunday to become the first LPGA Tour player in 44 years to sweep the first two events of a season, closing with 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Cristie Kerr.Singapore HSBC Women's Champions Golf

Miyazato, the 24-year-old Japanese star who won the LPGA Thailand last week, took the lead with a birdie on the par-4 16th — a hole she played in 5 under for the week — and parred the final two holes to finish at 10 under on Tanah Merah’s Garden Course.

A 15-time winner on the Japanese tour, Miyazato earned $195,000 for her third career LPGA Tour victory — all outside North America. She won the Evian Masters last year in France for her first LPGA Tour title.

Marilynn Smith was last player to win the first two events in a season, accomplishing the feat in 1966.

Miyazato has come out blazing. Can she challenge for #1? I think so. Her winning streak is now on hold for a month. The next LPGA tournament begins March 25th in Carlsbad California.

For the 2nd week in a row, the LPGA had an exciting final round. Last week it was the Miyazato-Suzann Pettersen battle, this week 10 or so players fought it out on the back nine. If the LPGA can carry this over to the United States, the tour may benefit from Tiger Woods abscence from competitive golf. A win by Michelle Wie would help too. She’s off to a solid start in 2010.($32,090 in earnings, 18th on the money list)

Lorena Ochoa after opening with a 68, shot a 2nd round 79 and finished well back. Has Ochoa become a better version of the 2004 to pre 2006 LPGA Championship Se Ri Pak? Pak won two tournaments since pulling herself together but isn’t anything like the golfer she was from 1998 to 2003.

Also blogging on Miyazato’s win- The Constructivist at Mostly Harmless. He has a very detailed account of the back and forth battle for today’s tournament. He points out that since the HSBC began, the winner has gone on to be Player of the Year. Ochoa won both in 2008 and Ji Yai Shin in 2009. Miyazato has a head start on making three in a row.

Update- Hound Dog also blogged on the HSBC final round

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