Thursday, February 22, 2018
Golf

Ai Miyazato leads LPGA finale; Seminole's Brittany Lincicome in third

NAPLES — Ai Miyazato kept telling herself to be patient and the putts would start falling. It all came together Friday at the Titleholders, where she believed she couldn't miss until her final putt dropped for 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead.

Two big birdie runs gave Japan's Miyazato a good chance to finish the LPGA Tour 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.

"I've been dealing with my putting since last month, and it just didn't go in," said Miyazato, who was at 10-under 134. "But I just say to myself, 'Just be patient and it's going to go in someday.' "

In second was U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi (68). Three shots back was a group of four that included Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (69), who was happy just to be playing.

The tour had an online contest in which fans could vote for who they wanted in the featured pairing on TV. Lincicome won, and then her lower back seized up at the week's start. It got so bad Thursday that she needed a therapist on the course.

One of the biggest hitters in golf, she took it easy Friday and kept her thoughts only on the next shot. "I just tried to guide it down the middle and get back in control of things," Lincicome said.

Also three back were first-round co-leaders Suzann Pettersen (71) and Sun Young Yoo, who thought she was only two back when she walked off the course. In the scoring tent, rules officials told her that her arm was not shoulder high when she took a penalty drop on 14. Yoo was assessed a one-shot penalty, which gave her 8 on the par 5, and she finished with 71.

"I didn't think about my arm's height," Yoo said. "It's my mistake. I'm still only three shots behind. I'm in good position."

The other first-round co-leader, rookie of the year So Yeon Ryu, was 6 under after 72. Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (72) was at 3 under, and Tampa resident Kristy McPherson was 8 over after 81.

hong kong open: Michael Campbell led a host of 40-somethings atop the leaderboard while defending champion Rory McIlroy failed to make the cut in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours. Campbell, 43, shot 6-under 64 for a one-stroke lead at 9-under 131 over 48-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez (67), 47-year-old Zhang Lian-wei (66) and 40-year-old Fredrik Andersson Hed (66). McIlroy double bogeyed the last hole for 72 to finish at 5 over. "So it's not the week I wanted, but then I have a few days to work on my putting and try and get ready" for the European Tour Championship in Dubai, he said.

australian masters: First-round leader Matthew Guyatt shot 3-under 69 to maintain his two-shot lead at 10-under 134 after the second round of the PGA Australasia event in Melbourne. Michael Hendry (69) was in second, and Adam Scott (70) was three shots back. Defending champion Ian Poulter (72) was five strokes behind.

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