Ai Miyazato of Japan kept telling herself to be patient and the putts would start falling. It all came together on Friday at the Titleholders, where she felt as if she couldn’t miss until her final putt dropped for an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead.
Two big birdie runs gave Miyazato a good chance to finish off the year with her third win. She finished the front nine with four birdies in a five-hole stretch, then ran off three straight birdies on the back nine at The TwinEagles Club, which had given her fits in the opening round.
Miyazato was at 10-under 134, one shot clear of US Women’s Open Choi Na-yeon, who also felt comfortable with the putter on the expansive greens with big undulations. Choi also finished with a big putt, from about 12 feet, only it was for par.
“I’ve been dealing with my putting since last month and it just didn’t go in,” Miyazato said. “But I just say to myself, ‘Just be patient and it’s going to go in some day.”’
Turns out they went in all day.
Yoo Sun-young, one of three players who shared the lead going into the second round, thought she was only two shots back when she walked off the course.
She was approached by rules officials in the scoring tent, who pointed out that her arm was not shoulder-high when she took a penalty drop on the 14th hole. That made a bad hole even worse, as Yoo was assessed a one-shot penalty and had a 71.
Yoo was at 7-under 137, along with Suzann Pettersen, Karine Icher and Brittany Lincicome, who was happy to just be playing.
Stacy Lewis still has high hopes, though she has plenty of work to catch up after a 72 on Friday, leaving her eight shots behind.
“Pretty frustrating,” Lewis said. “My game just hasn’t been sharp the last two days. Just been a little off putting, a little off chipping, a little off the iron game. You can kind of see it in the scores. Just haven’t quite got things going.”
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng and Candie Kung were in a group of eight players tied for 49th on 148, four over par.
Additional reporting by Staff writer