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Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola – Pre-tournament Notes and Interviews

Posted by on Aug 19th, 2011 and filed under Golf. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Untitled Document

Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola
Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Ghost Creek Course
North Plains, Ore.
August 17&18, 2011
Pre-tournament notes and interviews

Yani Tseng, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Ai Miyazato, Rolex Rankings No. 7
Juli Inkster, Rolex Rankings No. 45
Cristie Kerr, Rolex Rankings No. 2
Suzann Pettersen, Rolex Rankings No. 3


The Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola will celebrate 40 years of the LPGA Tour in Portland, Ore. when the 54-hole event kicks off on Friday at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club’s Ghost Creek Course.
Defending champion Ai Miyazato highlights a star-studded field at this year’s tournament which will feature 29 of the top 30 players on the 2011 LPGA Official Money List and the top 5 players in the Rolex Rankings competing for a $1.5 million purse and a $225,000 first-place prize.

Ai Miyazato

Back-to-back titles? Ai Miyazato added to her very successful 2010 campaign last year by capturing her fifth and final LPGA Tour victory of the season at the Safeway Classic. She held off Cristie Kerr and Na Yeon Choi with an even-par 72 in the final round to take a two-stroke victory.

Miyazato is coming into this year’s event playing some of her best golf of the season. She earned her first victory of 2011 at the Evian Masters last month, becoming the fourth player to have won multiple titles at the event, and finished tied for sixth at the U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“To be honest, [the victory at Evian] was really an exciting moment because I kind of struggled a little bit in the beginning of this season because of the earthquake in Japan,” Miyazato said. “It was really tough to focus my game because I went to Sendai for my high school, so I know a lot of people over there and many friends still live in Sendai. So I care about them.

“But since I played at U.S. Women’s Open, I feel like I’m kind of getting back clear everything, and I’m starting to feel really well with my game. So I kind of take a little step by step to Evian, but then I was really happy that I could win this year.”

The 26-year-old recently announced on her blog that she donated 20 million yen or the equivalent of around $261.000 from her first-place prize check at the Evian Masters to the relief efforts for the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. But one look at the button that she has worn on her hat since the disaster, which in Japanese characters reads “Never Give Up Japan,” and it’s clear that Miyazato always has her home country on her mind.

“Obviously to be able to donate, I felt very good about it,” Miyazato said through a translator. “But I want to be able to keep doing it for the long‑term. It’s not just because after the win at Evian, but I’d like to keep on contributing in the future as well.”

Yani Tseng

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