Ai Miyazato shot a six-under 65 to overcome a five-shot deficit and win the Arkansas Championship for her second LPGA Tour victory of the year and ninth overall.
The Japanese star made a five-foot birdie putt on 18 to reach 12-under for the tournament and her victory at Pinnacle Country Club was secured when Mika Miyazato missed a 15-foot birdie attempt on 18.
Ai Miyazato had seven birdies and one bogey in her final round to finish a stroke ahead of Mika Miyazato and Azahara Munoz.
Ai Miyazato also won the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii in April. She’s the third player on the LPGA Tour to win multiple events this season, joining Taiwanese world No. 1 Yani Tseng, also a three-time winner, and world No. 2 Stacy Lewis, and she is projected to rise from sixth to third in the world entering the US Women’s Open next weekend.
Mika Miyazato had a 67, while Munoz closed with a 65.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung carded a two-over 73 to finish tied for 43rd place with an even-par 213.
Veronica Felibert, the rookie from Venezuela who opened the day with a four-shot lead, shot a 72 to tie for fourth at 10-under.
While Felibert struggled in only her fifth LPGA tournament, Ai Miyazato opened with a 32 on the front nine and reached 12-under after her sixth birdie of the day on the par-three 15th. She fell back to 11-under after her only bogey of the day at 17, but she used a three-wood to reach the front fringe of the par-five 18th in two shots.
After a chip to within five feet, she calmly sank the downhill left-to-right putt to take a one-shot lead over Munoz, who had already finished her round.
Mika Miyazato was also at 12-under on the back nine, but a bogey on 16 left her at 11-under and needing a birdie on 18 to tie Ai Miyazato and force a playoff.
Mika Miyazato hit the fairway on the final hole, but elected to lay up. She hit her approach shot 15 feet left of the hole, but her birdie attempt just went by to the left and kept her winless on the LPGA Tour.
Felibert started the day at 11-under after only one bogey in the first two rounds. She reached 12-under twice on the front nine, but both times she quickly gave the shots back with bogeys.
Her bogey at nine led to a brief three-way tie with Mika Miyazato and Park In-bee, but Felibert bogeyed 12 and 13 to fall out of the lead for good.
Ai Miyazato earned US$300,000 for the win, while Munoz and Mika Miyazato each earned US$159,739.
Additional reporting by staff writer