Japan’s Ai Miyazato wins LPGA Lotte event

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Japan’s Ai Miyazato wins LPGA Lotte event

KAPOLEI, Hawaii - Japan’s Ai Miyazato claimed her eighth career LPGA title Saturday by shooting a 2-under 70 in the final round of the inaugural LPGA Lotte Championship.

The 26-year-old Miyazato finished with a 12-under 276 total for a four-stroke victory at the $1.7 million tournament.

“I don’t know what happened,” said Miyazato. “I just focused on my game. I was pretty nervous toward the end because I know everyone is playing so well. I had to finish really strong.”

Miyazato had taken a three-shot lead into the final round and had four birdies and two bogeys on Saturday as windy conditions again made things difficult on the par-72 Ko Olina course.

Miyazato’s victory comes after two runner-up finishes to world number one Yani Tseng of Taiwan this season, in Thailand and Phoenix. Tseng, winner of three titles this year, carded a 74 that left her tied for 10th on 4-under.

Korea’s Lee Mee-na was tied for the lead after a birdie on the 15th, but she took a double-bogey 6 on the par-four 18th to complete a 2-under 70 for a share of second place along with Spain’s Azahara Munoz. Munoz carded a 71 to join Lee on 8-under 280.

It was a further stroke back to Korea’s Ryu So-yeon’s 71 and American Cristie Kerr’s 72 on 281.

It was the first win for Miyazato since the 2011 Evian Masters. On Saturday, she birdied 15 and 17 and rolled in an 8-foot putt on No. 16 to save par.

“I just keep saying to myself just to be patient and not rush,” Miyazato said. “I’ve been playing so well this year.”

World No. 8 Miyazato is the fifth different winner on the LPGA tour this year. AFP
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