Miyazato shoots 64 to grab LPGA lead


By DOUG FERGUSON

AP Golf Writer

NAPLES, Fla. — Ai Miyazato of Japan kept telling herself to be patient and the putts would start falling. It all came together Friday at the Titleholders, where she felt as if she couldn’t miss until her final putt dropped for an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead.

Two big birdie runs gave Miyazato a good chance to finish off the year with her third win. She finished the front nine with four birdies in a five-hole stretch, then ran off three straight birdies on the back nine at The TwinEagles Club, which had given her fits in the opening round.

Miyazato was at 10-under 134, one shot clear of U.S. Women’s Open Na Yeon Choi, who also felt comfortable with the putter on the expansive greens with big undulations. Choi also finished with a big putt, from about 12 feet, only it was for par.

“I’ve been dealing with my putting since last month and it just didn’t go in,” Miyazato said. “But I just say to myself, ‘Just be patient and it’s going to go in some day.’”

Turns out they went in all day.

Sun Young Yoo, one of three players who shared the lead going into the second round, thought she was only two shots back when she walked off the course. She was approached by rules officials in the scoring tent, who pointed out that her arm was not shoulder-high when she took a penalty drop on the 14th hole. That made a bad hole even worse, as Yoo was assessed a one-shot penalty and had a 71.

Yoo was at 7-under 137, along with Suzann Pettersen, Karine Icher and Brittany Lincicome, who was happy to just be playing.

The LPGA Tour had an online contest where fans could vote who they wanted for the feature pairing on television. Lincicome won, and then was worried she couldn’t play. Her lower back seized up on her at the start of the week, and it got so bad Thursday that she needed a therapist to come out to the golf course to work out the kinks.

One of the biggest hitters in golf, she took it easy and kept her thoughts only on the next shot, and it paid off. Lincicome had a 69, and now heads into the weekend with a dozen others in the hunt for the $500,000 first-place check.

“I just tried to guide it down the middle and get back in control of things,” Lincicome said.

Stacy Lewis still has high hopes, though she has plenty of work to catch up.

Lewis has been distracted all week with the Friday night awards dinner in which she will receive LPGA player of the year, the first American to win the biggest award in women’s golf since Beth Daniel in 1994.

Lewis had a 72 on Friday, leaving her eight shots behind.

“Pretty frustrating,” Lewis said. “My game just hasn’t been sharp the last two days. Just been a little off putting, a little off chipping, a little off the iron game. You can kind of see it in the scores. Just haven’t quite got things going.”

Karrie Webb rolled in a 30-foot eagle putt up the ridge on the 13th to get into the hunt, and a birdie on the last hole gave her a 69. She was in a group at 6-under 138 that included So Yeon Ryu, who was to be honored Friday night as rookie of the year. Ryu won the U.S. Women’s Open last year, but she was not an LPGA Tour member.

Michelle Wie was four shots better than her opening round — a 77 — that put her in last place in the 73-player field, 24 shots behind. She headed for the practice range and worked on her swing as her parents watched.

HONG KONG OPEN

HONG KONG — New Zealand’s Michael Campbell shot a 6-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead in the Hong Kong Open, while top-ranked defending champion Rory McIlroy missed the cut.

Campbell was 9 under at Hong Kong Golf Club. Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, China’s Zhang Lian-wei and Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed were tied for second. Jimenez had a 67, and Zhang and Andersson Hed shot 66.

McIlroy shot a 72 to finish at 5 over.

AUSTRALIAN MASTERS

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s Matthew Guyatt shot a 3-under 69 to maintain a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Australian Masters.

Guyatt was 10 under at Kingston Heath.

New Zealand’s Michael Hendry was second after a 69. Australian star Adam Scott was 7 under after a 70, and defending champion Ian Poulter of England was five strokes behind after a 72.

PEBBLE BEACH

INVITATIONAL

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Russ Cochran shot a 7-under 65 at Del Monte for a share of the Pebble Beach Invitational lead with fellow Champions Tour player Kirk Triplett.

Triplett had a 69 at Del Monte to match Cochran at 9-under 135 in the tournament that features 81 players from the PGA, LPGA, Champions and Web.com tours.

John Mallinger, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back after a 69 at Spyglass Hill. Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam was 5 under after a 69 at Spyglass.

 

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