Miyazato Up a Dozen Entering Final Round


LPGA logo for LeaderboardsDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Ai Miyazato carded a 6-under 66 on Saturday to extend her fourth-round lead to an eye-opening 12 at the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. She stands at 17-under-par 271 as there is little doubt who will earn medalist honors this year.
With one round to play, Miyazato will be getting her LPGA Tour card for next season. Of course a catastrophic collapse could prevent that from happening, but it seems doubtful based on the way the 20-year-old from Japan has handled both the Legends and Champions Courses at LPGA International.
'I feel very good because I am doing a little bit better than I expected,' said Miyazato, who won six times on the Japan LPGA this year. 'I did not expect it to be this easy, but my game is coming together pretty well.'
Miyazato can make some history if her strong play continues on Sunday. She is in position to break the LPGA Q-school record for largest margin of victory. Michelle Walker captured the 1975 event by nine.
Miyazato, who brought a seven-shot lead into the fourth round, collected birdies at five, eight, 10 and 11 to build an even larger margin. She recorded additional birdies at 16 and 18 to post a bogey-free round.
Kate Golden (69) and Katie Futcher (71) are knotted in second place at 5-under-par 283. Lee Ann Walker-Cooper shot an even-par 72 and is alone in fourth place at 4-under-par 284.
Brooke Tull (70), Nicole Jeray (71) and Louise Stahle (73) are tied for fifth place at minus-3.
Erica Blasberg made a huge move on Saturday with a 6-under-par 66. She is tied for eighth place with Libby Smith (68) and Nina Reis (69) at 2-under-par 286.
Morgan Pressel, the 2005 U.S. Women's Amateur Champion and runner-up at this year's U.S. Women's Open, did not make up any ground on Saturday. She posted back-to-back 75s in rounds two and three, but managed a 1-under 71 in round four.
Pressel is part of a group tied for 11th place at minus-1.
Brittany Lang, who shared second-place honors with Pressel at the U.S. Women's Open, carded a 1-over 73 on Saturday and is knotted in 21st place at plus-2.
Twenty-four players will gain exempt spots on the 2006 LPGA Tour. The next 35 finishers and ties will earn conditional status for 2006.
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