Japan’s Mika Miyazato claimed her first LPGA Tour title by winning the Safeway Classic on Sunday with a closing two-under 70 to beat Park In-bee and Brittany Lincicome by two shots.
The 22-year-old Miyazato finished at 13-under 203 for a wire-to-victory on Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Course.
She shared the first-round lead and had a two-shot advantage after the second.
“It was my dream to win and play on the LPGA Tour,” Miyazato said. “It is very fulfilling for me to win along with those other famous players.”
Lincicome shot a final round five-under 67, and Park had a two-under 70.
Miyazato, who earned US$225,000 in first-place money, is in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour. She is the sixth first-time winner this year and finally broke through for the victory after two second-place finishes earlier this year.
“At the beginning of the season, my short game was no good. I try to work more on short game,” Miyazato said. “My golf game is getting better. I have more confidence in my golf game.”
South Korea’s Kang Hae-ji shot the best round of the day with a 66. She tied for fourth at 10-under with Cristie Kerr (70) and Ryu So-yeon (71). Sydnee Michaels, the first round co-leader, was four strokes back after a 70.
Michelle Wie posted her first top-10 finish this year, shooting a 69 to finish alone in eighth place.
Taiwan’s world No. 1 Yani Tseng shot a disappointing final round of 73 to finish at six-under. Candie Kung carded a 72 to finish on one-under, tied for 38th place, while Amy Hung’s 74 saw her finish a further shot back tied for 44th place.
China’s Feng Shanshan was three-under after a 70.
Miyazato breezed through the front nine, and took a three-stroke lead into the back nine. However, a bogey at No. 10 allowed four players to pull within a shot of the lead. The bogey was Miyazato’s first in 40 holes.
However, no one was able to catch Miyazato. She gave herself more breathing room with a five-foot birdie putt at short par-four 17th for a two-stroke lead.
Park made five birdies in an eight-hole stretch. She missed a six-foot eagle putt on 17 that would have given her a share of the lead with Miyazato.
Lincicome birdied the final two holes in her bogey-free round.
Kang made eight birdies, and moved into contention on the back nine, pulling within one stroke of the lead with a birdie at the par-three 16th. Her chances disappeared with a double bogey on 17.
Additional reporting by staff writer