POSTED: 3:48 p.m. HST, Apr 21, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 4:42 p.m. HST, Apr 21, 2012
Japan's Ai Miyazato held off all challengers today to win the LPGA Lotte Championship by four shots at wind-blown Ko Olina Golf Club.
Miyazato fired a final-round 70 to shoot 12-under 276 to secure her eighth victory on the LPGA Tour. The 26-year-old birdied the 15th from 25 feet off the fringe to break a tie with South Korea's Meena Lee. Down one standing on the 18th tee, Lee hit her approach into the bunker at the closing hole and then three-putted from 30 feet for double bogey to shoot 70. She tied for second with Spain's Azahara Munoz at 8-under 280.
Munoz was tied with Lee and Miyazato at 9 under as she walked off the 12th green, but an untimely bogey at the par-5 14th led to a final-round 71 that kept the 2008 NCAA champion still winless on tour.
Miyazato lost the lead to Lee with a bogey at the par-3 12th, the second straight day she carded a four on this hole. A buried lie in the bunker was the crucial mistake, but Lee joined her moments later at 9 under with a three-putt bogey at 14.
After Miyazato's birdie at 15, she saved par from 8 feet at 16 and then rolled in another birdie putt from long range at 17 to get her first win since the Evian Masters last year. This is her fifth top-10 finish in six events and first win in Hawaii in nine tries.
Miyazato is the fifth different winner on tour this year. She is currently ranked eighth in the world and can thank her father for a putting tip after a poor finish at the Kraft Nabisco three weeks ago. She needed only 53 putts in the last two rounds.
World No. 1 Yani Tseng overcame an ankle injury early in her final round to shoot a 2-over 74. She tied for 10th at 4-under 284. It is her seventh straight top-10 finish this year.