Ai Miyazato wins second Evian Masters
24 Jul 2011 - 18:30:23
Japan's Ai Miyazato completed a stunning weekend performance to claim her second Evian Masters in three years on Sunday.
After a bogey-free 67 in the third round, the 26-year-old followed up with a 70 to win by two shots on 15 under par 273 from American Stacy Lewis.
The 26-year-old joins Sweden's Annika Sorenstam and England's Laura Davies as a two-time winner - Swede Helen Alfredsson is the only player to have won the title three times.
It was Miyazato's seventh win on the LPGA Tour, but the first since the Safeway Classic last August for a player who was devastated by her country's earthquake disaster in March and has already raised thousands for the charity fund.
"The disaster did affect me badly and the people back home are never far from my thoughts," said Miyazato, who went to school in Sendai which was badly hit by the earthquake.
"But I am beginning to focus better again on my golf."
Two ahead at the start of the final round, Miyazato produced some pinpoint accuracy with her approach shots and birdied the third, sixth and eighth to move four clear of the field. But with Lewis and then playing partner, Hong Rang, hitting the birdie trail she saw the lead evaporate.
At the 12th, the lead was reduced to one when South Korean Hong made a long putt for birdie and Miyazato, after her second shot hit a slope and unluckily shot through the green, dropped her first stroke of the round.
But Miyazato hit back and there was a two shot swing in her favour at the 13th. The tiny Japanese player made a 15 foot putt for birdie, and Hong missed the green and made bogey.
Miyazato shed another shot at the short 14th but Hong, with four bogeys in a row from the 13th, and Lewis, who let one slip at the 16th, failed to mount a threat over the final holes.
Lewis, with a 70, finished in outright second place on 13 under par with fellow-American Angela Stanford (71), Japan's Miki Saiki (71) and South Korean Kim In-Kyung (70) tied for third on 12 under. Hong was another shot back after a 72.
"This was already a very special place for me," said Miyazato, who collected the 330,000 euros first prize.
"It was my first LPGA win in 2009 and now I have even more great memories. Today I stayed patient and it worked. I felt comfortable all day."
Norway's Suzann Pettersen, wearing a black arm band in recognition of the massacre in her home country on Friday, was the best of the Europeans and closed with a 68 to tie with Hong on 11 under for a share of sixth place.
Defending champion Shin Jiyai, from South Korea, closed with a 73 for seven under par, while Taiwan's Yani Tseng, the world number one, closed with a 69 for nine under.
Montelimar's Virginie Lagoutte-Clement was the best of the home players, but could only finish tied 44th after a disappointing second successive round of 74.
She finished on level par. Gwladys Nocera also shot 74 for two over par and Anne Lise-Caudal, the third French player to make the cut, crashed to a 79 for eight over.