Ai Miyazato will come full circle this week at the Evian Championship when she competes in it for the final time.
Miyazato began her L.P.G.A. career with a victory at the Evian, and she will end it this week when she retires as a competitive professional at age 32. When she was asked what milestones and memories stand out in her 14-year career, these were her top 5.
Winning Evian in 2009
Miyazato was already a golf superstar in Japan when she arrived in the United States in 2006, but it was not until her fourth season on the L.P.G.A. Tour that she was able to break through for her first win at the 2009 Evian Championship. Before her Evian victory, Miyazato had won 15 tournaments in Japan and she had 16 top-10 finishes on the L.P.G.A. Tour, including one runner-up finish in 2007.
Becoming No. 1
When Miyazato became the world’s No. 1-ranked player in 2010, it was a first for a Japanese golfer. She moved into the top position after four wins in the first nine L.P.G.A. tournaments that year and was No. 1 for a total of 11 weeks. Cristie Kerr took over the top spot a week after Miyazato’s ascent and held the top ranking for three weeks until Miyazato won for a fifth time in August to regain No. 1. Kerr regained the top spot in late October.
Winning as a Teenager
Miyazato captured her first headlines in June 2003 when, at the age of 18, she won the Japan Women’s Amateur Golf Championship. In September of that year, she was a high school student when she played as an amateur and won the Dunlop Ladies Open, a sanctioned tournament on the L.P.G.A. of Japan Tour.