News and Notes for the week of February 22, 2010

Miyazato wins Honda PTT LPGA Thailand with final-round 63

CHONBURI, Thailand, Feb. 21, 2010 - Japan's Ai Miyazato shot 9-under-par 63 on Sunday to win the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand by one shot over 2007 champ Suzann Pettersen. Miyazato, who was 10-under-par in her final 16 holes, chipped-in for birdie at 18 to clinch her second-career LPGA victory.

"(I) was trying to focus on every single shot and not trying to win or get a low score," said Miyazato. "Just every single shot, try to hit the fairway, hit the green and make some putts. It was really simple, but under the pressure it was really difficult to do. I did it well."

Miyazato entered Sunday five shots behind overnight leader Pettersen, but used a six-hole stretch to erase that deficit and turn Sunday's final round at Siam Country Club's Old Course into a two-player sprint to the finish. Miyazato started her day with a bogey at two, but got it back with a birdie at three.  The 24-year-old Rolex Rankings No. 8 then went 6-under from holes six through 11 to move one shot behind Pettersen. The Norwegian, who was 1-under-par 35 on her front nine with a bogey at nine, extended the lead back to two shots with a 12-foot birdie at 10. Miyazato then birdied 13 and 15 to lock the pair at 20-under-par. Pettersen then missed her eight-foot par putt at 16 while Miyazato chipped-in from 10 yards behind the pin at 18 for a two shot swing. Pettersen's 72nd hole eagle effort slid by the hole, but she tapped in for birdie to take runner-up honors by a stroke.

"There's nothing I can do when Ai shoots 9-under," said Pettersen. "I played pretty good golf and I don't waste much energy thinking of why I didn't win it. For me, it was a great start."

For Miyazato, the win is her second in two seasons following Rolex First-Time Winner honors at last year's Evian Masters Presented by Societe Generale. She banks $195,000 for the victory and takes an early lead on the LPGA Official Money List and the Rolex Player of the Year race. Last season, Miyazato had a career year, pocketing over $1.5 million with 13 top 10 finishes.

Similar situation, different outcome for Pettersen

It's easy to draw parallels between Suzann Pettersen's performance at this year's Honda PTT LPGA Thailand and her performance in 2007. Both years she manhandled the Old Course at Siam Country Club. Both years she entered the final round with a sizeable lead. Both times that lead evaporated on Sunday. In 2007, she managed to steal a victory - her fifth and final of the season - with a 72nd hole eagle to defeat Laura Davies by a shot. This year, a bogey at the 16th hole and a short birdie-putt miss on 17 cost her a chance at a seventh LPGA title. The 28-year-old Norwegian managed a 62 hole bogey-free streak to begin the event, but could not overcome the play of Honda PTT LPGA Thailand Ai Miyazato down the stretch.

LPGA legend Davies cards strong final round

LPGA veteran Laura Davies shot 7-under-par 65 on Sunday to tie for sixth at the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand. The 20-time LPGA winner started the day with an eagle at the par 5 first hole and turned a 4-under-par 32 for the day. She added birdies at 10, 14, 17 and 18. In 2007, Davies nearly overcame a seven-stroke final round deficit to win on the Old Course at Siam Country Club. Her final round included six birdies, one bogey and an eagle, but it was Suzann Pettersen's 72nd hole eagle that knocked her out of a potential playoff.

Earlier this week…

Golf Channel and the LPGA announced that the two organizations have finalized an agreement that gives the cable network's 24-hour channel in Japan cable exclusivity through 2011 for the events comprising the LPGA Tour International Package. Golf Channel Japan also extended its partnership for the same time period with Mitsui & Co., the network's Japanese distributor.

This recent agreement serves as an international extension to the 10-year, historic partnership launched between Golf Channel and the LPGA at the beginning of this year. Golf Channel Japan now will have exclusive rights - satellite, cable and mobile - to all LPGA Tour International Package regular season events. The package consists of all LPGA events, except the U.S. Women's Open, RICOH Women's British Open, Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale, The Solheim Cup when held in Europe, events held in Japan and events with a Japanese title sponsor. Also included in the package is simulcast rights to two LPGA major championships: Kraft Nabisco Championship and LPGA Championship Presented by Wegmans.

Topics: Miyazato, Ai

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