Ai Miyazato wins first LPGA event at Evian Masters

By Associated PressJuly 26, 2009, 4:00 pm
Evian MastersEVIAN-LES-BAINS, France ' Ai Miyazato of Japan won the Evian Masters with a birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday, beating Sophie Gustafson of Sweden to clinch her first victory on the LPGA.
 
Miyazato steadied herself and sank a putt from about 6 feet after Gustafson had missed her birdie putt from the edge of the green.
 
I had a tough time these last few years, Miyazato said, referring to her long wait for an LPGA title. It is obviously a relief, but I feel a sense of accomplishment at achieving this great win. I have so many things going through my head at the moment.
 
Ai Miyazato
Ai Miyazato reacts to winning her first career LPGA event. (Getty Images)
Miyazato shot a 3-under 69 and Gustafson had a 70 as both finished at 14-under 274.
 
Gustafson had a chance to win it on the 18th, but her eagle putt stopped at the edge of the hole.
 
Michelle Wie tied for 23rd at 5 under, but failed to collect any points in her bid for a place on the United States team for next months Solheim Cup match against Europe.
 
Wie had three birdies on the last four holes to salvage her round, but finished just out of the top 20 to miss out on getting Solheim Cup points. She gets another chance at next weeks British Open, where points count double.
 
I think for next week, my tee shots feel good, Ive got to get that working, Wie said. Get that groove back.
 
The 24-year-old Miyazato, who has won numerous titles on Japans JLPGA circuit, is the first Japanese woman to win at Evian since Hiromi Kobayashi in 1997' who also won on the first playoff hole.
 
Every time I walk up the stairs to the locker room I tend to see her scorecard, Miyazato said. When I saw it, I wanted to achieve what she achieved. I wanted to be a champion. I respect her a lot and feel very proud as another Japanese player to have done the same.
 
Miyazato clenched her fist as her last putt rolled in, then stood still for several moments with her hand on her brow as she paused to savor the win. She takes home $487,500, tied for the highest first prize in womens golf with the Womens U.S. Open.
 
The 35-year-old Gustafson was aiming for her first title since winning the 2007 Scottish Open, and fifth overall on the LPGA.
 
Both had birdies on the 18th hole, after Gustafsons 30-foot putt for eagle stopped at the lip of the cup.
 
Meena Lee of South Korea ' who shot a 65 to creep into contention ' finished in a tie for third with Cristie Kerr of the United States at 13 under.
 
Defending champion Helen Alfredsson of Sweden eagled No. 18 to tie for fifth with former Evian champions Paula Creamer (2005) of the United States and Karrie Webb of Australia (2006). All had 277.
 
After holding a share of the lead for the first three days, Becky Brewerton of Wales shot a 76 to drop into a tie for 13th place. Brewerton had bogeys on 2, 3, 4, 10, 15 and a double bogey on No. 14.
 
Miyazato started the playoff with a strong tee shot down the fairway, while Gustafson found the rough. Miyazato went for the green on her second shot and landed in the bunker next to the green, but made a good chip.
 
Gustafsons third shot took her onto the right edge of the green, and she took several moments to compose herself before sending her birdie putt well left of the hole.
 
When I had good success in Japan I was still very young, but when I came to the States I had to adjust to many things, the culture, the language, Miyazato said. But I dont think the length of time it took me to win was that important. It was very valuable (to learn).
 
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


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    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

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    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.