The $3.25 million mega LPGA Tour event got interesting when Ai Miyazato of Japan struck a 5-under 67. In the process she acquired a 54-hole lead at the Evian Masters being played in Evian-les-Bains, France.
Miyazato has driven on a clean path so far apart from a few occasional bumps on the road which have led her to stand at 13-under 203. Currently she is leading against South Korean Ran Hong at 67 for the 72-hole competition.
Miyazato is also leading the pack in front of Americans Stacy Lewis and Angela Stanford. Both of them have scored a 69 while the 2nd round leader Miki Saiki of Japan is off by two strokes in comparison to Miyazato.
The former Number One ranked female golf player of the year, Miyazato, currently resides at the 10th spot. However, Miyazato is fighting tooth and nail to gain back her position. The Saturday action saw her record five birdies and the rest pars.
If Miyazato is able to pull the rabbit out of the hat by recording a win this Sunday, she will celebrate her first LPGA victory in about two years. Miyazato showed confidence in her press release too. She believed she was ready to take the trophy home and pocket the winnings after working tirelessly for such a long time.
In her press release Miyazato stated, “I hit the ball really well and my putting was really good. I was really calm out there so that's why I didn't have a bogey, I think.” Nonetheless Miyazato acknowledges that the game hasn’t ended yet, therefore will be geared up till the last hole.
She also accepted that even though a two stroke lead kept her in front, the advantage could dissipate quickly if mistakes or bad luck intervened. She spoke on the issue saying, “Two shots is still nothing on this golf course. So many players can shoot a low score tomorrow.”
Winner of this year’s first LPGA major (Kraft Nabisco Championship) was Lewis and she was leading out front in the beginning of this event. She could boast four hot birdies on the front nine for a 4-under 32. However Lady Luck deserted and fell down the pecking order nonetheless her bogeying Nos. 11 and 15. She also had another birdie on 16 completing a 3-under total.
While talking to media, Lewis explained that she was annoyed and dissatisfied with her performance; she said, “I’m a little bit frustrated with the way I played today. I hit a ton of good golf shots and had probably four of five putts lip out.”
Stanford was just satisfied by her role. She believed more could have been achieved which was true after all she struck five birdies and two bogeys. Similar to Lewis, one of her bogeys was on the par-5 15th. She commented on her performance, “I played very consistent today. I had a few mistakes on the par-5s.”
Maria Hjorth of Sweden is still in the hunt at 10-under 206 for her 70. She also happened to be the first-round co-leader. She is joined in the hunt by I.K. Kim of Korea. Kim carded an 8-under 64. She also recorded nine birdies and a bogey.
Mika Miyazato was also breathing down the neck of Ai Miyazato (just to make it clear both Miyazatos are not related). Mika had a 68 while Shin-Ae Ahn of Korea recorded a 71 and Cristie Kerr from United States recorded a 70. They are all tied for 8th at 9-under 207.
The defending champion of the event Jiyai Shin had a 70 alongside Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall at 69. The duo is tied at 11th at 208.