Golf

Ai Miyazato storms to Arkansas win

Ai Miyazato won her second LPGA title of the year after a birdie on the 18th at the Arkansas Championship saw her hold off Mika Miyazato.

 
Ai Miyazato storms to win - GolfAFP
 

Ai Miyazato landed a five-foot birdie putt on the final hole to card a 6-under-par round of 65 but still had to wait until the Mika Miyazato, playing in the next group, missed her 15-foot birdie putt before she was assured of victory.

Ai Miyazato enjoyed seven birdies and one bogey in her final round, eventually finishing one shot ahead of Mika Miyazato (67) and Azahara Munoz (65).

“I knew I needed to make lots of birdies today,” said Ai Miyazato, who started the day five shots off the lead.

“I didn’t have any expectation and I didn’t have any pressure in the front nine. So that’s why I think I could focus my game and have four birdies on the front nine.”

Mika Miyazato was level with Ai Miyazato through the back nine but a bogey on the 16th left her needing a birdie on 18 to go back level and force a play-off.

“I tried to hit it too hard, so that putt, I need to make this putt,” Mika Miyazato said. “I understand but (it was) still difficult, so I try it.”

Munoz eagled the par-four fifth hole before reaching 11-under for the tournament with a birdie at the 17th. But a missed approach shot on the 18th meant she could only manage a par.

“I played all day unbelievable,” the Spaniard said. “I barely missed any shots. On the last one, I hit a great drive and was in between clubs.

“I decided to go with the hybrid and I just tried to hit it too hard and missed right.”

Overnight leader Veronica Felibert started the day with a four-shot lead but could not maintain her challenge and closed with a final round 72 to tie for fourth.

The Venezuelan rookie, who started the day on 11-under-par, twice reached 12-under on the front nine but promptly gave the shots back with bogeys.

Her second bogey at the ninth hole briefly created a three-way tie for the lead with Mika Miyazato and Park In-Bee but Felibert added bogeys at the 12th and 13th holes to fall out of contention for good.

“I didn’t play the way I wanted,” Felibert said. “I didn’t feel nervous at all, I was surprised.

“I thought I was going to be more nervous. But my swing wasn’t there and I didn’t try to like fight it. I just played with what I got and it wasn’t good enough.”

Local favourite Stacey Lewis, who played her collegiate golf at the University of Arkansas, finished with a round of 70 to tie for 19th.

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