With the first International Crown tournament scheduled for later this month (July 24-27), here’s a look at the third-seeded Japanese team:
- The Japanese team is one of five teams with a current or former No. 1 player in the world. Ai Miyazato was ranked No. 1 for 12 weeks in 2010. Miyazato, 29, has nine career LPGA victories, the last coming at the 2012 NW Arkansas Championship.
- Mika Miyazato has one LPGA title, the 2012 Safeway Classic.
- The Miyazatos are not related.
- Mamiko Higa was a recent addition to the Japanese team after Rikako Morita could not play because of a scheduling conflict. Higa spent time at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., training and won her first Japan LPGA event in April 2013. The 20-year-old turned professional at age 17 and has two career top-10 finishes on the LPGA, both in 2013 – a T3 at the Mizuno Classic and a T7 at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
- Rikako Morita, 24, who has won seven times on the Japan LPGA, including four times in 2013 when she captured the money title, could not participate because of a prior commitment in Japan. If a player drops out, the spot is filled by the by the next highest ranked, available player from the Rolex World Ranking for that country, dating back to the Rolex World Rankings at the conclusion of the 2014 Kia Classic. Shiho Oyama (ranked No. 47 at the time) also chose not to play, opening a spot for Higa (No. 50).
- Sakura Yokomine, 28, has won 22 times on the Japan LPGA. She finished T7 at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2.
- The International Crown is the first large team competition for the Japanese. South Korea, Thailand, Australia and Chinese Taipei are also making their debuts. The United States, Spain and Sweden have all competed in the Solheim Cup.
- The Japanese open International Crown play on July 24 against No. 6 Sweden.