COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Though they are not related, they have an awful lot in common.
A last name.
And now, a tee time together with a major championship in their grasp.
Mika and Ai Miyazato finished 1-2 after the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open on Saturday, setting up a third-round pairing for the two golf prodigies from Okinawa, Japan.
Mika shot 4-under 67 to take the lead at the halfway point at 5-under 137. That was one shot ahead of Ai, who is four years older than Mika and leads her 6-0 in the LPGA Tour win column.
No wonder, then, that Mika has no problem when people mix the two up every once in a while.
“Everybody thinks we’re sisters,” Mika said. “That way, everybody can remember me, because Ai is playing great.”
In the third round later Saturday, the Miyazatos were grouped with South Korea’s I.K. Kim, as the USGA sent threesomes off from the 1 and 10 tees in an attempt to bring a Sunday finish to a tournament that has fallen behind after two straight afternoons of rain.
Kim, who went home Friday night with the lead, returned Saturday for four holes and finished two shots behind at 3 under. A bit later, she headed back to the hotel for a long wait.
“I just got a new iPad, so I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I have plenty of time to play games and everything. So I’m not worried. I will definitely do some power napping this afternoon before I go out.”
The only other players to reach the halfway point under par were Stacy Lewis and Ryann O’Toole, both at 1 under. Defending champion Paula Creamer was in a six-way tie at even. Yani Tseng, trying to complete the career Grand Slam, was 4 over, nine shots out of the lead.
Lewis led for much of the second round before making bogey and double-bogey in the hour after play resumed following a rain delay Friday evening. She shot 73 in the second round.
“I felt awful last night,” said Lewis, who won the year’s first major, the Nabisco, earlier this year. “I didn’t feel much better when I woke up. It was just really tiring to me. I’ve played 36 holes before, but not on a golf course like this.”
Indeed, the Broadmoor is taking a hunk out of these players. It’s a 7,000-yard monster at 6,400 feet in elevation – a long walk on a normal day, let alone a multiple-round grind under major-championship conditions. Rounds averaged about 5 1/2 hours Saturday.
“It’s really, really tough to play,” Ai Miyazato said. “I’m kind of tired already.”
A few months ago, the Miyazatos banded together with another Japanese player, Momoko Ueda, to create a website to attract donations for victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated their country in March. They wear buttons with Japanese lettering that translates to “Never Give Up Japan.”
Mika has pledged all her winnings from this year’s major championships to the disaster victims. Her top-10 finishes at the Nabisco and LPGA netted more than $100,000. First-place money this week will be in the neighborhood of $600,000.
“For me, winning majors is what I strive for,” Mika said. “And to donate all of my earnings from the majors, I hope to give positive things to the people who are around the disaster area.”