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Miyazato returns to defend Hawaiian title
April 15, 2013

The Ko Olina Golf Club in Oahu, Hawaii will set the stage for the second playing of the LPGA LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf, where 144 players will compete for a $1.7 million and a $225,000 first-place check as they tee up alongside the coast of Kapolei.

Rolex Rankings No. 9 Ai Miyazato is back to defend her title after defeating Spain’s Azahara Munoz and South Korea’s Meena Lee by four strokes to claim the inaugural championship. She went on to tally her ninth-career LPGA victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2012. The Japan native enters the week with three top-25 finishes so far this season, including runner-up at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

Also slated to be in the field this week includes the newly ranked No. 2 Inbee Park following her second major win and fifth career victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The 24-year-old has been a model of consistency since last summer when she went on a 10-week streak of top-10 finishes and claimed two wins at the Evian Masters and Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. To start off her 2013 campaign, Park captured the Honda LPGA Thailand in late February and rolled on to make her 27th consecutive cut en route to her major championship win. Park now leads the Tour in Rolex Player of the Year points and is on the hunt to take over the No. 1 spot from Stacy Lewis.

Lewis enters this week’s event in Hawaii with two victories added to her résumé already this season and having held the Rolex Rankings No. 1 spot for the fourth-straight week. But after a T32 finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship her position is at risk with several challengers close behind including Park, Na Yeon Choi and Yani Tseng who are also in the field this week.

Second-year LPGA member Lizette Salas has proven to be a top competitor this season after being a co-leader through the second and third rounds of the season’s first major before a final-round 7-over 79 resulted in a T25 finish. She has claimed three top-10 finishes this season and is in the hunt for her first-career LPGA victory.

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