Miyazato wins fifth title of season at Safeway reclaims No 1 ranking

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2010, 4:37 am
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PORTLAND, Ore. – Ai Miyazato was in uncharacteristic territory to start the final round of the LPGA Safeway Classic.

She was nervous.

While Miyazato normally appears composed, the jitters were evident when the Japanese star bogeyed the par-4 second hole on the Ghost Creek Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. Then she bogeyed the par-4 seventh.

It wasn’t until a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole that she steadied herself – and cruised to her fifth victory of the year. Miyazato, who also led after the first two rounds, closed with an even-par 72 to finish at 11 under.

“Today was a really tough day,” she said. “I was really nervous on the front nine. But after nine holes I made a birdie and it gave me a good kick.”

Ai Miyazato
Ai Miyazato reacts to her fifth LPGA win of the season. (Getty Images)

With the win, Miyazato reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings, swiping that status from Cristie Kerr, who finished two strokes back along with Na Yeon Choi.

Kerr chased Miyazato throughout the final round until hitting into the water on the par-4 18th. The American finished with a 70, while Choi shot a 71.

Miyazato, ranked No. 1 for a week in June and again for a week in July, is among five players who have been jockeying for the top ranking, including Kerr, Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen and Yani Tseng. The spot came up for grabs when Lorena Ochoa retired earlier this season.

“My goal at the start of this year was to become Player of the Year. So I’m aiming for that,” she said. “Everybody is so close at the top, so I don’t really know what is going to happen. But it’s a good motivator for me.

The Safeway Classic, in its second year at Pumpkin Ridge about a 20-minute drive west of Portland, was marred Saturday when veteran Juli Inkster, in strong position to contend in the final round, was disqualified.

The 50-year-old Hall of Famer used a weighted training aid on her club to stay loose while waiting for 30 minutes to make the turn at the 10th hole. That broke rule 14-3, which meant disqualification.

Miyazato and Kim, playing in the final pairing of the day, battled on the back nine holes after Kim pulled even with Miyazato with a jaw-dropping chip from under a tree to birdie the par-3 11th. But Kim dropped two shots with bogeys on the 13th and 14th holes.

In the pairing in front of them, Kerr missed a chance to pull even with Miyazato by misjudging a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17. Her chances slipped away with the shot into the water on the final hole.

“I just said to myself, `How could you do that?”’ she said.

Kerr has won twice on the tour this season, at the LPGA Championship and the State Farm Classic. She won the Safeway Classic in 2008 when it was at Columbia Edgewater Country Club near Portland International Airport.

“I’m not going to be far off as far as points, so this was an important week for me to finish up there even if I didn’t win,” she said.

Pettersen (69) and Song-Hee Kim (72) finished at 8 under.

Tseng, who the Women’s British Open on Aug. 1 for her second major victory of the season and third in three years, finished 2 over.

M.J. Hur, the defending champion, was 4 over and did not make the cut. The Safeway Classic is her first and only title to date. Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Christina Kim were among those who also missed the cut.

Inkster was in a three-way tie for second at 8 under with Kim and Choi after two rounds. But that was erased when she used the “doughnut” training aid to practice her swing before making the backed-up turn, and the image flashed on television.

LPGA Director of Tournament Competitions Sue Witters said a viewer watching the broadcast brought the violation to the attention of tournament officials via email. By that time, Inkster was almost done with her round.

“I had a 30-minute wait and I needed to loosen up,” Inkster said in a statement. “It had no effect on my game whatsoever, but it is what it is. I’m very disappointed.”

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."