Thursday, May 24, 2018

Miyazato leads shortened Evian Championship

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France — Mika Miyazato shot 6-under 65 Friday to take the lead after the rain-delayed first round of the Evian Championship, the year's fifth and final women's major. The tournament was shortened to 54 holes after Thursday's play was washed out.

Top-ranked Inbee Park, trying to become the first professional to win four majors in a season, got off to a bad start with 74.

Suzann Pettersen bogeyed the last hole to fall one shot behind Miyazato, along with Se Ri Pak and Sandra Gal. American Kristin Kim was 4 under, one shot ahead of teen star Lydia Ko, Michelle Wie, Carrie Webb and Lindsey Wright.

American Stacy Lewis, the only other player to win a major this year (the British Open), was four shots behind.

Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse was 2 over, Tampa resident Kristy McPherson 3 over and Seminole's Brittany Lincicome 4 over.

Miyazato is looking for her first LPGA Tour title this year.

"The best part was my putting," said Miyazato, who called this her "best finish this year."

Pettersen had a chance to take the outright lead when her long birdie putt on the 18th hole hit the lip and rolled out, and she then missed an easy par.

Play was called off after less than an hour Thursday because of heavy rain, and the scores were wiped out. It was sunny all day Friday, but the LPGA announced late in the day it had decided to cut the tournament to three rounds. Organizers initially hoped to complete 72 holes by playing two rounds Sunday, when rain is also forecast. There will be a 36-hole cut today of the top 70 and ties.

The decision didn't make some of the players happy.

"Now we are shorting a major championship to 54 holes … What's next??" Lewis wrote on Twitter.

Pak, 35 and a Hall of Famer who won the last of her five majors at the LPGA Championship in 2006, said she was confident she could challenge for another after improving her wayward putting. "A bit of a lesson" from her father last week helped set her straight.