Date: August 30, 2010
Author: Paul Melville

LPGA of Japan – KIZAWA ENDS 20-YEAR DROUGHT TO WIN NITORI

(30 August 2010 – Tomakomai, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan)

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Just three weeks short of her 41st birthday, Nobuko Kizawa broke through for her maiden LPGA of Japan title, winning the Nitori Ladies Golf Tournament in a playoff. After both Kizawa and Korea’s Na-Ri Kim finished the 54 holes tied at 11-under par, it was the veteran of 20 years who prevailed with a par at the first playoff hole. The Japanese pair of Sakura Yokomine and Yukari Baba finished tied for third, just one shot out of the playoff.
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rnKizawa began the last day at 10-under par, a one shot buffer over Kim with Baba and Shinobu Moromizato two shots behind. By the 9th hole, Kizawa had stretched the lead to five shots after a flawless front nine of 4-under par which included birdies at the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 7th holes. Kim matched two birdies with two bogeys to remain at 9-under par while Baba had joined her in a tie for second after a 1-under par outward half.
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rnThe ‘back nine on Sunday’ started to tell on Kizawa, who watched as both of her nearest competitors made birdie at the easy 10th hole before she stumbled with a double-bogey at the 12th and a bogey at the 13th. The lead was now just one shot, which Kim negated with another birdie at the 14th to join Kizawa on 11-under with Baba one back. Surprisingly that was the end of the birdies for all three players as they each made four pars to finish their rounds leaving Kizawa and Kim to battle it out in the playoff.
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rnAfter a par was good enough for victory in the playoff, an obviously emotional Kizawa said, “It has been a long day today, just as I expected, but to get this first win is the greatest feeling. I am overjoyed. But this is not the end. My golf career starts from here onward.” It had taken 462 tournaments to claim her first victory, a span where she had finished runner-up twice and placed third four times with 23rd her best finish on the Money List in 2000.
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rnTamie Durdin
played solidly again this week with rounds of 70, 70 and 71 to finish tied 9th and post her 3rd Top-10 in 10 starts this season. She moved up to 41st on the Money List with ¥12,800,000 (approx AUD$166,886) in season earnings. Nikki Campbell returned to action and finished in a tie for 29th.

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Photo courtesy of LPGA of Japan.