GALLOWAY, N.J. -- When Japan's Ai Miyazato wakes up Monday morning, she will officially be the top-ranked woman golfer in the world, a goal she set for herself when she first moved to America in 2006 and got to watch players like Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa up close. "I still can't believe it, but I do feel very comfortable [with the thought]," said a beaming Miyazato after closing out the Shoprite LPGA Classic at Seaview Golf Club in southern New Jersey with a final-round 64 Sunday evening (her total score of 16-under 197 gave her a two-shot victory over M.J. Hur). The win was Miyazato's fifth LPGA Tour title in 12 months, fourth this season and first on U.S. soil (the previous took place in France, Thailand, Singapore and Mexico).
Paula Creamer, who went into Sunday one stroke shy of the lead, managed an even-par 71 to finish six strokes back in 7th place. After being sidelines for four months following thumb surgery, and still playing in severe pain, Creamer was pleased with that result. "Jeeze, if someone had told me 'you're going to play in the lead group in your first tournament back out in however many months,' I would've taken it in a heartbeat," she said after her round.
Jiyai Shin, who had held the No. 1 spot in the rankings for the last two months but who was sidelined with appendicitis two weeks ago, is still entered in next week's LPGA Championship. And with Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng within sniffing distance of the top of the rankings as well, this title could bounce back and forth between several players before the season is over. For now it's Miyazato's to lose and she doesn't look ready to give it up anytime soon.