Miyazato holds 2-stroke lead in Phoenix

Updated: March 14, 2013

Ai Miyazato tied the tournament record
Thursday with a 9-under 63 to grab the lead after the first round of the RR
Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

A runner-up at this event last year, Miyazato holds a 2-stroke lead over Jee
Young Lee, who carded a 7-under 65 at Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott
Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa to sit alone in second place.

“I hit the ball well and my putting was really good,” said Miyazato. “I think
I had good course management as well and I could control myself really well,
too, so it was a good day.”

Pornanong Phatlum (66), Gerina Piller (66), Candie Kung (66) and Brittany Lang
(66) share third place at 6-under, while Katherine Hull-Kirk (67), Sandra Gal
(67), Jiyai Shin (67) and Lexi Thompson (67) sit a shot back of them in
seventh at 5-under.

Last year’s winner, Yani Tseng, carded a 2-under 70 in her first round to take
a share of 39th place.

Miyazato opened her bogey-free round with a birdie at the first followed with
three straight pars.

She then birdied at the fifth before hitting the turn at 3-under following
another birdie at the eighth.

After adding another birdie at the 11th, she was able to race up the
leaderboard by picking up five strokes over a four-hole stretch.

The hot streak started with a birdie at the 14th that was followed by an eagle
at the par-5 15th.

She carried that momentum with consecutive birdies at the 16th and 17th to
move further ahead before ending her day with a par at the last.

“You know, it’s just beautiful out there,” Miyazato said about the course.
“It’s just always nice to play in this tournament, it’s very enjoyable, and I
just had a good feeling this morning.”

Lee started on the back nine and opened strong with back-to-back birdies at
the 10th and 11th, but then stumbled to a bogey at the 12th.

However, she gained that shot back plus another with birdies at the 13th and
14th, and then raced out to 6-under on the day by reeling off a streak of
three straight birdies from the 16th.

A bogey at the first halted her momentum, but she was able to counter that
with a birdie at the second.

She then rolled in her ninth birdie of the day at the fifth to pull within
striking distance of Miyazato with four holes to play, but she could get no
closer as she closed out her round with four straight pars to remain two
strokes back.

“I had good tee shots and irons, and I had a lot of birdie putt,” said Lee. “I
feel really good today and I want to keep it up.”

NOTES: Miyazato also tied her career-low round, which she shot at the 2009 CN
Canadian Women’s Open … The world No. 1 Tseng could be overtaken in the
rankings this week by either Na Yeon Choi or Stacy Lewis. Choi will replace
Tseng with a first-place finish and Tseng finishes fourth or worse, and Lewis
will take the top spot with a victory and Tseng finishes third or worse …
Lewis (68) is tied for 11th place at 4-under, while Choi (69) is in a large
group tied for 21st at 3-under … Jane Rah recorded a double eagle at the
15th … Jennifer Gleason hit a hole-in-one at the 171-yard par-3 14th.