Sports Outside the Beltway

Ai Miyazato wins the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand

The first LPGA tournament of 2010 is in the books. From AP-

Japanese star Ai Miyazato rallied to win the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand on Sunday, holing a birdie chip on the final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-stroke victory over Norway’s Suzann Pettersen.Thailand LPGA Golf

Miyazato, six strokes behind Pettersen after the third round, was 6 under in a six-hole stretch midway through the round, then birdied three of the last six holes to match the tournament record of 21 under set by Pettersen in October 2007.

Pettersen finished with a 70 Siam Country Club’s Old Course. She had a chance to force a playoff on the par-5 18th, but missed a 23-foot eagle try.

The 24-year-old Miyazato earned $195,000 for her second LPGA Tour title. She also won the Evian Masters last year in France and has 15 victories on the Japanese tour.

“I didn’t think of winning. I was just focused on my game and tried to do my best in the final round,” Miyazato said. “It was my lucky day as no matter what I did was right. This victory is a good start of the season for me.”

Taiwan’s Yani Tseng (69) was third, six strokes back at 15 under. Karrie Webb (67) and Cristie Kerr (70) followed at 13 under, and Laura Davies 65), Maria Hjorth (71), Momoko Ueda (72) and Song-Hee Kim (73) were 12 under.

Miyazato played some of the best golf on tour from June onward last year. She finished the year 3rd on the money list only behind Ji Yai Shin and Lorena Ochoa. She has the talent to be one of the best players on tour. When Miyazato joined the LPGA in 2006, big things were expected from her but she couldn’t win till last year. I predicted her to finish in the top 5 this year.(5th to be exact)

Once again Suzann Pettersen has been unable to close the deal on a Sunday. Among her poor finishes on the LPGA are the 2008 Wegmans, 2009 Safeway, 2008 Kapalua, and most notoriously the 2007 Kraft Nabisco. Pettersen still has 6 wins on tour but with the record I list above you can’t ever say she is a safe Sunday bet.

Update- Other bloggers writing on Miyazato’s win are The Constructivist at Mostly Harmless and Hound Dog.

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