For a stretch, Ai Miyazato was not only one of the best putters on the LPGA Tour, she was the world’s No. 1 player.
The Miyazato of the last two years though has struggled to find both her putter and her perch as one of the LPGA Tour’s best. After annually ranking among the top-10 on the Tour in putts per green in regulation and putting average, Miyazato’s putting stats dipped to 138th on Tour in putts per green in regulation and 118th in putting average per round in 2014. Unsurprisingly, her money list standing dipped to 86th in 2014 and she’s been unable to find the rebound in 2015 at No. 78 on the money list.
“It's been a really struggle year or me. It has been a really long year,” Miyazato said. “I know the golf is not going to be same all the time. It's like same as life, so many ups and downs. You've got to take it and try to move on. That's what I'm going to do right now. Seems like it's going in the right direction and I'm glad that I feel this way in my last tournament.”
Here though in Naples Miyazato for at least the week has found both her putting and a familiar place – the leaderboard. Miyazato’s just five shots back of the lead in in a tie for eighth at 9-under-par and has needed less than 30 putts in each of her first three rounds here.
“I feel really good with my game. My putting has been really good, so I’m pretty happy with it,” Miyazato said.
As a result, Miyazato’s in position to potentially finish inside the top-10 for the first time since the 2013 Lotte Championship, which happened in April of that year.
“Just got to keep it going, I think,” she said. “It's not easy condition out there, but at least I hit the ball well. I handled myself really well. So just do the same thing again tomorrow.”