A 40-year Portland, Oregon tradition continues this week at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola where Japan native Mika Miyazato hopes to deliver a successful title defense after capturing her first LPGA victory at the event last year. The tournament returns to Columbia Edgewater Country Club, which hosted the event as recently as five years ago,will feature a 144-player field, vying for a $195,000 first-place check.
Miyazato became the sixth Rolex First-Time winner at last year’s event with an impressive wire-to-wire victory over Inbee Park and Brittany Lincicome. She will face the challenge of defending her title at the revamped event which returns to a beloved venue and moves to a four-day layout. While the 23-year-old only boasts two top-finishes so far this season including a third place finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, she is hopeful for a successful title defense for her second-career victory.
“I feel a little nervous, but more excited to be honest,” said Miyazato of defending her title. “This is the first time for me to play as a defending champion and it's a very special feeling for me, so I want to enjoy it.”
This year’s Safeway Classic marks the last event in the continental U.S. before the LPGA Tour heads to France for the season’s fifth and final major, The Evian. It will be followed by a five-week Asian swing featuring the all-new Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing. Eight of the world’s top-10 female golfers will tee-off in Portland seeking to prepare for the next big event.
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park continued her stellar play this season at last week’s CN Canadian Women’s Open when she finished in a tie for 13th at 4-under-par. With six victories so far this season, Park holds a commanding lead in the Rolex Player of the Year race with 281 points, which puts her in perfect position to become the first South Korean to earn the prestigious award.
The Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola will be played August 29 through September 1 and will be featured on Golf Channel all four days. The first, second and third rounds will air from 6:30-8:30 p.m. EST with final-round coverage from 7-9:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.