North Plains, Oregon – Mika Miyazato carded a 2-under 70 on Sunday to hold on for a two-stroke victory at the Safeway Classic and her first LPGA Tour title.
Miyazato finished at 13-under par 203, and broke through for the win that was long in the making for her. The 22-year-old has been close to her first title many times, especially this year.
She tied for third at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, then was a runner-up at both the LPGA Championship and Arkansas Championship.
But Miyazato found her way into the winner's circle thanks to a clean round at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club that included three birdies and a single bogey.
She finished two strokes ahead of Brittany Lincicome (67) and Inbee Park (69), who shared second at minus-11. Haeji Kang (66), Cristie Kerr (70) and So Yeon Ryu (71) tied for fourth at 10-under 206.
Miyazato began the round two strokes ahead of Ryu, the previous week's winner at the Jamie Farr Owens Toledo Classic.
But Miyazato didn't make the kind of frequent mistakes that cost players titles, turning in a clean front nine that included two birdies. She bogeyed No. 10 to dip to minus-12, and her lead was down to one stroke.
Ryu had birdied that same hole to get to minus-11, but didn't make up the remaining shot. She bogeyed the 15th and couldn't recover, following a birdie at 16 with a bogey at 18.
Miyazato and Ryu were playing in the final group, and none of the other preceding players could match Miyazato's score.
Park needed to recover from two early bogeys that pushed her back to minus-6, while Kerr reached 10-under only after a late charge.
But Park and Kerr began Sunday three strokes behind Miyazato, who, as it turns out, was too far ahead of the field to catch.
NOTES: World No. 1 Yani Tseng carded a 1-over 73 and finished alone in 11th at 6-under 210. She was under par for the first two rounds, the first time she'd posted back-to-back under par rounds since the Kraft Nabisco Championship...Miyazato pocketed $225,000 for the victory...Next week, the LPGA Tour heads to British Columbia, Canada for the CN Canadian Women's Open. Lincicome was the winner last year.