Japan's Ai Miyazato shot a final-round, Even-par 72 to win the Safeway Classic presented by Coca-Cola at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Ghost Creek course outside Portland Sunday, her LPGA-best fifth victory of the year. Miyazato, No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings to start the week, held off No. 1 Cristie Kerr and Na Yeon Choi to win by two shots at 11-under 205. With this finish, Miyazato is projected to be the new No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings come Monday, dropping Kerr to No. 2.
Miyazato and Kerr traded blows for much of the back nine before Kerr, playing in the group ahead of Miyazato, dunked her approach shot on the closing 431-yard par-4 in the water just right of the green and the back-right pin. She dropped and got up and down for a bogey, but when Miyazato parred, she closed the door.
"I had a perfect club. I just didn't hit it." Kerr said. "I thought I played great. Hitting it in the water at the last hole was not indicative of my week. I had a chance. I forced her, put pressure on her so she didn't run away from the field. Unfortunately, the last five holes, I wasn't able to get a couple birdies to be able to pull ahead."
Ai won this battle, but the war's far from over: The race to No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings will remain hot for the foreseeable future. The top-four players entering the week all finished in the top-six at the Safeway Classic presented by Coca-Cola, ensuring more fireworks next week at the CN Canadian Women's Open.
"I think it's going to be back and forth again, because all the top-five players are just playing so good this year." Said Miyazato, her usual humility intact. "I don't really feel like I'm that far above everyone else, so that's why I think that the rankings will still keep on changing."