This past August, Miyu Yamashita teed it up in her first LPGA Tour event, the AIG Women’s Open, having earned her way into the major championship through her win at the 2022 Suntory Ladies Open on the JLPGA. Looking to follow in the footsteps of 2019 champion Hinako Shibuno – who won the major title in her golf debut outside of Japan – Yamashita tied for 13th among a stacked field of competitors from around the globe and was thrilled at the taste she got of playing golf abroad.
“I felt a good experience out there, and I dreamed of playing golf abroad in the future,” said Yamashita. Fast forward to now, and Yamashita has the potential opportunity quicker than she may have thought possible to accomplish her dream. The Japanese phenom is two shots out of the lead at -12 with just one round to play at the TOTO Japan Classic. The 4’11” player is making sure to take in the atmosphere of the co-sanctioned event, even if there are striking differences between her and her competitors.
“The atmosphere is totally changed from a regular JLPGA tournament. And every player from the U.S. is pretty tall,” joked Yamashita, who finished T57 in 2020 and T15 in 2021 in the JLPGA-only editions of the event.
Yamashita may be only 21, but her resume in her time on the JLPGA speaks for itself. Joining the tour in 2020, Yamashita played in 49 events in 2020 and 2021, making 43 cuts while earning 16 top-10 finishes that included her first win and two runner-up finishes. She’s added three more titles to the resume in 2022 and is within striking distance of another. Yamashita tops the Mercedes Ranking, the JLPGA Official Money List, and has the most top-10 finishes this season (18) and best scoring average (70.1617). It’s that experience she’ll use to her advantage on Sunday at Seta Golf Course, as she looks to now become an LPGA Tour winner as well.
“The hole locations are going to be tough tomorrow, so I will focus on the course management and give myself good birdie chances as much as possible,” said Yamashita. “I will try to win this tournament and try my best tomorrow.”