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Miyazato to defend major title

Kyodo

Mika Miyazato will defend her title at the Japan Women’s Open starting Thursday at Nagoya Golf Club’s famed Wago Course.

The course, known as the place where Ryo Ishikawa shot a 12-under 58 — the lowest score ever on a sanctioned tour — at The Crowns in 2010, will feature a 6,383-yard, par-70 layout.

The lesser-known, 21-year-old Miyazato will come into the four-day major tournament on a high note, having finished in the top 10 in three majors on the U.S. LPGA Tour this year.

She has been more accurate with her irons than fellow Okinawan LPGA Tour member Ai Miyazato in recent tournaments, and Mika would appear to have a good chance of retaining her title.

“It’s a completely different course set up to last year. Being able to make par saves from difficult situations will be key,” said Mika.

“It’s a very long layout with thick rough,” said Ai, who won the Japan Women’s Open in 2005 at Totsuka Country Club in Yokohama. “The key is hitting the fairways off the tee.”