*When Ai Miyazato won the LPGA Lotte Championship in Oahu, HI this past weekend it was hardly a shock considering how well she has been playing in 2012. In fact if it wasn’t for the three wins that Yani Tseng has already racked up this season, more focus would be falling upon the former World No.1 from Japan. The Hawaiian golf community gave a warm welcome to the ladies after a four-year absence as the fans came out in high numbers to show their support. It was a tournament that was wide open until Miyazato made a charge on the back nine of the final round when she finished -12, four shots ahead of Meena Lee and Azahara Munoz. For Miyazato it was her 8th LPGA victory and moved her up to 5th in the Rolex World Rankings. Miyazato has finished second to Tseng twice so far this season and the only time she found herself out of the top six was at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
For Munoz it means that she is still searching for her first LPGA victory though her play the past few weeks hints that it may come sooner rather than later. The 2010 Rookie of the Year finished T-15th at the Kraft and didn’t seem nervous even though she was playing in the final group. “That’s what we practice for,” Munoz said. “I’ve been missing this. At the end the year last year I was couple times in the last group, and I love it. That’s why we play golf.” The Spaniard is quickly becoming a fan favorite and adds a lot of energy to the field. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see her take home a trophy before the year is done.
For some of the players Hawaii proved the perfect place to get their game back on track. Cristie Kerr finished T-4 and it was the first time she had been in contention since the RR Donnelley Founder’s Cup in Phoenix earlier in the year. Winless since 2010 this past week should give her some renewed confidence going forward. Hawaii unfortunately brought nothing but frustration for Honolulu native Michelle Wie as she missed her third straight cut in a row, first time she has done that since 2007. (See LPGA: The Missing Game of Michelle Wie)
*The tour will be without No. 1 player Yani Tseng this week as she is spending the time in New York as she is being honored by Time magazine as one of The 100 Most Influential People in the World. Tseng was the only golfer to make the prestigious list this year. Pretty fitting since she is only 23 years old and already has 15 LPGA titles, 5 of which are majors.
*The tour rolls into Mobile, AL for the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic this week. Defending champion is Maria Hjorth and the tournament will be held at the Crossing’s Course at Magnolia Grove. Viewing times below, all on the Golf Channel.
April 26-GC 12:30-2:30 PM EST
April 27-GC 12:30-2:30 PM EST
April 28-GC 3:00-6:00 PM EST
April 29-GC 3:00-6:00 PM EST