The Loop

Miyazato loses ground on history

March 25, 2010

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Japan's Ai Miyazato is chasing history here, but attempting to do so in the wind while starting with a six-shot deficit is, well, as difficult as bettering Tiger Woods' record at her home course in America.

Miyazato became the sixth player in the history of the LPGA to win the first two tournaments of the year, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since Marilynn Smith did it in 1966. At the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf at La Costa Resort here, Miyazato is attempting to become the first ever to win the first three tournaments of an LPGA season.

When she teed off in the afternoon, the ocean breeze had stiffened and she was already six off the lead held by Korea's Na On Min, who shot a six-under par 66 in the morning. The wind bedeviled Miyazato, who made only a single birdie while shooting a two-over par 74.

"It's a really challenging week," she said. "I still have a chance on this golf course, because it's really difficult. But I think I need a few under (on Friday)."

For Miyazato, it's as close to a home game as she has in the U.S. She has a home in Irvine, about 60 miles north of here. She has an honorary membership at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, where the course record is held by Woods. He shot 61 there in the Pacific 10 Championship in 1995.

"He shot 61 on that course?" she said, incredulous. "OK, maybe no chance (to break the course record)."

A more achievable goal had been winning three in a row on the LPGA, which from well down the leaderboard has begun to look as daunting a task as shooting 60 at Big Canyon.

-- John Strege