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LPGA Safeway Classic recap: A Sixth first

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By Vince Robitaille

GolfWRX Staff Writer

Parity is an overused term in the contemporary golfing thesaurus.

The PGA Tour has been left without a clear-cut alpha male since Tigergate – a case could be made that Luke Donald filled the spot left vacant in 2011, although without inspiring much fear into his opponents or by-standing creatures amidst the golfing ecosystem. The LPGA’s prime predator, Yani Tseng, also has been dormant for the better part of the summer.

Parity though? Not quite. Golf – outside of soccer – is the sporting world’s paramount oligarchy. Mika Miyazato’s victory at Pumpkin Ridge on Sunday abounds in such a direction.

The Other Miyazato finally getting it done – not that Mika hadn’t obtained top results in recent memory as her four top-5 finishes in her last seven outings exemplify – meant that no fewer than six players have recorded their first “W” as LPGA members in 2012. Now, one could point out that such an important number of first-time champions, even across a full season, showcases how level the field is.

Of those six players, however, one had previously held the U.S. Women’s Open crown, one is a past Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year with previous runner-up finishes and a great Solheim Cup showing last fall, and the others were former amateur standouts. Arguably, of the group, Jessika Korda represented the best argument for parity, her professional struggles in 2011 prompting some to think that her meltdown in the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship were a good indicator of what her career would become.

Lang and Feng, despite their low points around the turn of the decade, were trending significantly upwards in 2011 with multiple top-10’s. There is congestion at the top, no doubt about that, but it’s a tightly knit pack that doesn’t allow for many intruders to run away with one on any given Sunday.

In a whole other class of overdue – especially after her second places at the Wegmans LPGA Championship and Walmart NW Arkansas Championship – Miyazato made her intentions clear quite early in the fourth edition of this three-day event, grabbing a share of the lead at 7-under 65 with a lap around the course that included 17 greens in regulations. Her co-leader by way of an over-achieving flat stick during the first round, sliding down the leaderboard as three lost strokes on 17th and 18th did her in, Miyazato’s blemish-free 68 on moving day left her sitting atop the leaderboard with an eagle-worth of cushion. Oddly enough, her closest pursuer was none other than So Yeon Ryu, last week’s champion and, most importantly, one of the aforementioned six.

Despite a pair of good runs, the final round’s most stress-charged moment came on the 72nd hole and was only brought by the eventual Rolex First-Time Winner herself. With her approach barely missing the putting surface, the now World No.10 found herself facing a tricky situation that could be negotiated in three strokes to win in regulation. After striking the ball a touch too high on the face and almost double-hitting it, the ball landed what appeared to be a tad short. Fortunately enough, the abrupt slope that led to the hole – and a greenside water hazard – enabled Miyazato’s nearly disastrous stroke to trickle within kicking distance of the cup and the wire-to-wire victory.

In a losing cause, two golfers that have enjoyed success up North in the past – namely Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie ­– have shown signs of vigor – recording their best respective results of the year – at an opportune moment as the LPGA Tour heads back to Canada for its Open this week. The question is: will any of them be able to maneuver around a wet Vancouver Golf Club?

Click here for more discussion in the LPGA/Ladies golf talk” forum. 

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  1. Troy Vayanos

    Aug 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    The LPGA tour is moving along very similar to the mens PGA tour. Many 1st time winners on both tours which suggests a very level playing field.

    Looking at the points difference in the rankings as well and there is very little between the top half a dozen players on both tours.

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Tour Photo Galleries

WRX Retrospective: Interesting photos from the 2019 Masters

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As of now, we know the 2020 Masters is going to have to wait until November. The tournament will be as exciting as it will be interesting since it will be the first modern glimpse into Augusta National beyond April.

It has also given us the great opportunity to look back with hindsight 20/20 (that was very much an unintended pun) at our pictures from 2019 to showcase some of the most noteworthy and interesting, including some potential foreshadowing of the week that was to come.

2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson isn’t one to change putters too often, but he must have been searching for something last year when testing out this TaylorMade Spider.

This was Viktor Hovland’s last Masters as an amateur. He won low amateur honors and went on to capture the same distinction at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

TaylorMade always does a wonderful job with major-themed accessories and bags. 2019 was no exception.

Little did we know at the time this was taken, this man would be leading heading into Sunday’s final round. How the tables turned so quickly.

Callaway’s collab with Seamus Golf lead to these flower-themed headcovers.

We can’t forget that Tuesday practice day was rained out and the course was closed at 10 a.m. to both players and spectators. It wasn’t the warm spring kickoff many had hoped for!

Although it was short-lived, it was a rainy Tuesday for all, including caddies.

The weather broke on Wednesday and the view up the 10th hole never gets old.

Did you realize two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson’s Flightscope has a custom pink paint job?

Inexpensive snacks and beverages are always a highlight of any Master’s visit.

The 2019 Masters featured pre-bulked Bryson, who also happened to have a custom FlightScope X3. He looks like a veritable stick!

They say a picture says 1,000 words, but in the case of Tiger Woods, we had no idea how many words would be written come Sunday.

A peek into the bag of Gary Woodland, who would go on to become the U.S. Open Champion only a few months later.

Special shoutout to Gary Woodland’s caddy Brennan Little, who hails from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and is obviously a big Toronto Blue Jays fan. He was also on the bag for Mike Wier’s win in 2003.

Although the relationship was short-lived, Sergio used some very cool custom Toulon putters while on staff with Callaway Golf.

The eighth green is one of the most interesting and mounded on the course, there’s not a bunker to be found but danger lurks everywhere.

Undulations at No. 1 are a sight to be seen at ground level.

The iconic, understated clubhouse of ANGC.

The tucked-away first tee spike cleaner is something every course should have.

And of course, the iconic 12th, where so much would be decided come Sunday.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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Tour News

GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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