• Kyodo

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Japan LPGA money leader Ai Miyazato will take a two-month leave of absence from the domestic tour to play in overseas tournaments and test the course for a U.S. LPGA qualifying tournament, people close to her said Thursday.

Miyazato, who drew worldwide attention by winning the inaugural Women’s World Cup in South Africa in February with Japan teammate Rui Kitada, will leave Japan for the United States on June 18 after the ongoing Suntory Ladies Open.

Miyazato is scheduled to take part in the U.S. Women’s Open in Colorado from June 23-26 and the Women’s World Matchplay Championship in New Jersey the following week, before moving to Florida for practice rounds on the course she will play in a bid to obtain a U.S. LPGA tour card.

After a brief stay back in Japan, the Okinawa native, who turns 20 on June 19, will go to Europe to play in the Evian Masters in France and in the Women’s British Open in England in late July.

Miyazato won five JLPGA tournaments in her first full year as a pro in 2004 and added two victories this year. She leads this year’s JLPGA money list with 42.3 million yen, 11.1 million yen ahead of second-placed Midori Yoneyama.

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