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Miyazato enjoys a milestone win

Ai Miyazato celebrates a birdie putt on the 11th hole at the HSBC Champions. She has won the first two LPGA events.

Associated Press

Ai Miyazato celebrates a birdie putt on the 11th hole at the HSBC Champions. She has won the first two LPGA events.

SINGAPORE — In the first two weeks of this season, the LPGA Tour has had just one winner: Ai Miyazato.

The Japanese star, 24, won the HSBC Champions on Sunday to become the first tour player in 44 years to sweep the first two events of a season, closing with 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Cristie Kerr.

Miyazato, who won the Thailand Open last week, took the lead with a birdie on the par-4 16th — a hole she played in 5 under for the week — and parred the final two holes to finish at 10-under 278.

"This is obviously a great start for me," said Miyazato, a 15-time winner on the Japanese tour. "I try to stay in the present in what I do, and that's really helping my game at the moment."

Marilynn Smith won the first two events in 1966, and Babe Zaharias (1951), Louise Suggs (1952) and Mickey Wright (1963) swept season-opening events.

Miyazato admitted she doubted herself before winning last year's Evian Masters for her first LPGA Tour title.

"Very much so," she said. "I did have doubts about myself before the Evian. And because this tour is at such a high level, you know, I did lose my confidence. But many people have supported me thus far, and I just want to thank them right now for what they have done for me."

Kerr birdied No. 16 to take the lead at 10 under but bogeyed the final two holes for 68.

Juli Inkster, the 49-year-old Hall of Famer who began the round tied with Miyazato for the lead, shot 74 to tie for ninth at 5 under.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome (72) finished at even 288 to tie for 26th.

PGA: Mahan rallies for Phoenix Open title

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hunter Mahan came from four strokes back to win the Phoenix Open by a shot over Rickie Fowler in a 1-2 finish for former Oklahoma State players.

"It's always a little better to lose to a Cowboy," Fowler said.

Mahan, 27, had an eagle and a pair of birdies in a late four-hole span to shoot 6-under 65 and finish at 16-under 268.

Fowler, 21 and a rookie, shot 68 for his second runnerup finish.

South Korea's Y.E. Yang shot 65 to finish at 14 under, two off the pace. Yang, the 2009 PGA Championship winner, led until his tee shot hit water at No. 17.

Third-round leader Brandt Snedeker struggled mightily and shot 78 to finish at 7 under.

In the past two years, Mahan played well but couldn't win. He was on the 2008 Ryder Cup team and had six top 10s in 2009. His earnings the past two years topped $5 million.

"It's just finding a way to win. I just haven't been able to do it," he said. "So obviously it feels great to get off the year on my fifth tournament to win. It gives me a lot of confidence in myself that I'm doing the right things in my game, and it feels great, it really does."

Davies wins again: English star Laura Davies won the New Zealand Women's Open for her 73rd worldwide title. Davies, 46, shot 4-under 69 for a two-stroke victory at 9-under 279 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Nationwide: Fran Quinn won the Panama Championship for his fourth career tour title, shooting 1-over 71 for a two-stroke victory over Brian Smock (67) in Panama City, Panama. Quinn, 44, closed with a tournament-record 15-under 265.

Miyazato enjoys a milestone win 02/28/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 28, 2010 10:21pm]
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