• Kyodo


Former women’s world No. 1 Ai Miyazato was in a confident mood Tuesday as she geared up for the U.S. Women’s Open, the third major tournament of the season.

Miyazato, who has announced that she will retire at the end of this season, will be taking part in her first U.S. Women’s Open in three years. She could only manage 36th at the Women’s PGA Championship earlier this month but believes she is in with a shot of winning an elusive first major title.

“This tournament helped me develop as a player,” Miyazato said at practice. “My shots are good and I think I am in with a chance,” said the Okinawan star.

Miyazato chatted and laughed with Australian Karrie Webb, her close friend and winner of the U.S. Women’s Open in 2000 and 2001, and others as she played nine practice holes.

Miyazato also admitted that the 6,700-yard layout at Trump National Golf Club was certainly a challenging one.

“The rough is thick here so you cannot let your concentration slip and also the greens slant sideways,” said Miyazato.

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

Ai Suzuki, who has won twice on the Japan LPGA Tour this season, is playing at this event for the first time in two years.

“My short game has improved since two years ago,” said Suzuki. “Putting will be important.”

Harukyo Nomura, Mika Miyazato and Ayaka Watanabe are the other Japanese players entered in the tournament.

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