More Sports / Golf

Miyazato plans to put away clubs for good at end of season

Kyodo

Former women’s world No.1 Ai Miyazato, a nine-time winner on the U.S. LPGA Tour, will retire at the end of this season, her management team said on Friday.

The 31-year-old will hold a news conference on Monday to announce her decision.

The youngest member of a golfing family from Okinawa, Miyazato shot to stardom in her rookie season in 2004, winning five Japanese LPGA Tour titles and becoming the first teenager on either the men’s or women’s domestic circuit to earn ¥100 million in one season.

A year earlier she became the first amateur player in 30 years to win on the pro circuit at the Dunlop Ladies tournament.

In February 2005, Miyazato represented Japan along with Rui Kitada and won the inaugural Women’s World Cup of Golf.

She joined the LPGA Tour in 2006 and earned her first win in her fourth season at the 2009 Evian Masters in France, defeating Sophie Gustafson in a sudden-death playoff.

In 2010, she won five tournaments on the LPGA Tour and rose to No. 1 in the world rankings.

Her last victory on the LPGA Tour came at the NW Arkansas Championship in 2012.

Miyazato’s best finishes in major tournaments were third at the Women’s PGA Championship (2006, 2010) and the Women’s British Open (2009).