Monday, September 18, 2017

LPGA Player Profile: Ai Miyazato (and much more)

Let me start off this week by giving a big congratulations to Anna Nordqvist for winning the Evian Championship in a playoff over Brittany Altomare. Both players were not even in the mix as we approached the turn on Sunday, but all the players ahead of them folded to the major championship pressure. Moriya Jutanugarn, who had the lead for most of the round, could not make a single birdie on the back nine and finished in a third place tie. Lydia Ko looked like she would be in the playoff until she bogeyed the final hole to miss out by one shot. Sung Hyun Park, who looked like a runaway winner earlier in the tournament, had a complete meltdown shooting a six over par 42 on the back nine. She failed to even finish in the top twenty-five. For Nordqvist it was her 10th career victory, and 2nd major championship win.

With the LPGA schedule having very few breaks in it the last four months (they played 12 consecutive weeks at one point), I have not done an LPGA profile in quite some time.
As the tour is off this week, it is as good a time as any to fit one in now.

The player I have chosen is Ai Miyazato. As most of you know, she announced at the beginning of the season that she is calling it quits after this year (She played her last tournament this past week at the Evian Championship).

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Ai Miyazato 

Born:  June 19, 1985
Hometown:  Okinawa, Japan
Resides: Okinawa, Japan / Phoenix, Az
Rookie Year:  2006

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Ai Miyazato (2nd from left) was a member of team Japan at the 2014 UL International Crown.

Ai has won 9 times on the LPGA tour.
  • 2012 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
  • 2012 LPGA Lotte Championship
  • 2011 Evian Ladies Masters
  • 2010 Safeway Classic
  • 2010 ShopRite LPGA Classic
  • 2010 Tres Marias Championship
  • 2010 HSBC Women's Champions
  • 2010 Honda LPGA Thailand
  • 2009 Evian Ladies Masters
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Ai Miyazato holds her 2012 Lotte Championship trophy.

Best finishes in major championships:
  • ANA Inspiration - 15th in 2007
  • KPMG Women's PGA Championship - 3rd in 2006 and 2010
  • U.S. Women's Open - 6th in 2009 and 2011
  • Ricoh Women's British Open - 3rd in 2009
  • The Evian Championship - 15th in 2013

Ai stopped to take this photo with me at the Ricoh British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland in 2011

Career Stats 
  • 265 career starts
  • 215 cuts made (81.1%)
  • 63 top tens (23.8%)
  • Has earned $8,302,365 in prize money (23rd on the all-time LPGA career money list).
Other Career Highlights:
  • Held the #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings for 11 weeks during the 2010 season when she won 5 times.
  • Became the first player since 1966 to win the first two events of a season, winning 2010 Honda LPGA Thailand and the 2010 HSBC Women's Champions.
  • Qualified for the LPGA tour in her first attempt, winning the 2005 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament by 12 strokes.
  • Won 12 events on the JLPGA tour prior to joining the LPGA.

Links to Previous Player profiles:
Natalie Gulbis
Belen Mozo
Hee Young Park

Other Tidbits:
The Alisports LPGA tournament that was scheduled to be played October 5th through October 8th, has been canceled and is no longer on this year's LPGA schedule.

The last ten LPGA major championships have produced ten different winners.

It was announced this past week that golf has now been added to the 2024 Olympic games.
So Yeon Ryu was the winner of the Annika Major Award, which signifies the player who did the overall best in the 5 major championships this year.

How good have the players from South Korea been this year? This is the first time all season that three tournaments were played without one of them getting a win.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week

We have some huge jumps this week. Anna Nordqvist makes the most important move, jumping from #13 to #4. Moriya Jutanugarn surges from #32 to #23, Brittany Altomare makes one of the biggest moves of the year, leaping from #102 to #40, while Katherine Kirk vaults from #77 to #49.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Lexi Thompson still has a sizable lead with 3,221 points. She is followed by So Yeon Ryu with 2,691 and Sung Hyun Park with 2,619.

Who's Hot:
Moriya Jutanugarn's third place finish was her 20th top twenty-five finish of the year. That is three more than runner-up Brooke Henderson. 

Non LPGA player Georgia Hall earned her third top ten finish this year in six starts.

Mi Hyang Lee may have gotten off to a terrible start this year, but she sure has made up for it. She has finished in the top 25 in eight of her last ten starts, with four top tens.

Flying under the radar? Ally McDonald has four top 16 finishes in her last five starts.

Who's Not:
Ariya Jutanugarn has now missed the cut in six of her last 7 starts (3 in a row). 

Catriona Matthew has missed four consecutive cuts, and in 17 starts this year has not finished better than 30th.

This Week's Trivia Question: 

What LPGA player has made the most money this season without winning a single tournament?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

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