Miyazato eyes fifth win No 1 ranking
Miyazato shot a 6-under 66 on Friday for the first-round lead at the Safeway Classic at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club west of Portland.
Miyazato had a one-stroke lead on Teresa Lu of Taiwan and Jee Young Lee of South Korea.
Miyazato is in a five-way battle for the world’s top ranking. American Cristie Kerr is currently No. 1, followed by Miyazato, Jiyai Shin of South Korea, Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Yani Tseng of Taiwan.
“It’s really fun, really exciting because the top five players all represent different countries, so it’s really a good motivator for me,” Miyazato said.
In a changing of the guard since the retirement of Lorena Ochoa earlier this year, Miyazato, Kerr and Shin have traded the top ranking six times in the past three months.
“Even though it was just for two weeks, I was so very happy,” Miyazato said about her time on top. “I was happy because I experienced something that I never really experienced before, and so it will just be really good for my future as my career goes on.”
Miyazato has won four times on tour this season, something that has certainly given her confidence.
“But I’m still in the process and trying to learn something almost every day. So I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the season, but I’m trying my best every week,” she said.
Also making a case for recognition this season is the 21-year-old Tseng, who won the Women’s British Open on Aug. 1, her second major victory of the season and third in three years. The Kraft Nabisco winner in April, Tseng made a 6-foot par putt on the final hole at Royal Birkdale for a one-stroke victory over Katherine Hull. She also won the 2008 LPGA Championship.
But Tseng shot a 3-over 75 in the first round.
Lu said the course was playing fast.
“Some of the holes you can, like the par-5s, you can almost reach the green. It’s quite interesting, like I go for the green and see how many birdies I can get, and possible eagle,” she said.
Lu was making her 10th start this year. Since joining the LPGA in 2006 she has yet to win, but she was encouraged by her score on Friday.
“Playing well one day doesn’t mean I can win the tournament, so I need to play aggressively the next couple of days to keep shooting a low number,” Lu said. “I think people are going to shoot low on these greens, so you have to keep going.”
South Korea’s Chella Choi, Taiwan’s Amy Hung, Japan’s Momoko Ueda and American Brittany Lincicome were two strokes off the lead with 4-under 68s. Veteran Juli Inkster joined a large group at 3 under.
M.J. Hur is the defending champion of the tournament nestled in farmland at the base of the Cascade Range about a 20-minute drive west of Portland. She won her first-ever title by beating Pettersen with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
Hur shot a 74 on Friday on the 6,546-yard Ghost Creek Course. It is the tournament’s second year on the rural course after 19 years at Columbia Edgewater County Club.
The top-ranked Kerr, who won the event in 2008 at Columbia Egdewater, shot a 70. Michelle Wie, looking for her second victory after taking last year’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational, was at even par going into Saturday’s second round.
Fan favorite Natalie Gulbis had to withdraw because of ongoing back trouble.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.