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Confidence name of the game for Miyazato

Ai Miyazato doesn’t hit the ball a long way. She ranks 99th among LPGA pros in driving distance at 240.8 yards per drive.

Miyazato doesn’t hit a lot of greens, either. She’s 92nd on tour in greens in regulation.

She does play with enormous confidence after admitting she lost her confidence after joining the LPGA.

How did she get it back?

“It’s a long story,” Miyazato said by telephone after she grabbed the first-round lead at the Safeway Classic Friday in a bid to win her fifth LPGA title this season and regain the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. “I did lose my confidence, especially when I had trouble with my driver, but when I was able to find my own style, my game’s gone well.”

Miyazato abandoned bids to change her swing to find distance, got some help from Vision 54 gurus Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott and sharpened a short game that is among the best on tour. Miyazato ranks 14th on tour in putts per green in regulation.

All of that’s helped put Miyazato in position to gain the No. 1 ranking for the third time this season. Both times she’s ascended to the top, however, she’s lost the ranking a week later. She’s No. 2 this week.

“Even though it just for two weeks, I was so very happy. And why I was happy is 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.”