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Golf: Japan's Mika Miyazato grabs LPGA lead

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Japan's Mike Miyazato fired a six-under par 65 on Friday to seize a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the $2 million LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship.

Miyazato, no relation to defending champion Ai Miyazato, fired a bogey-free round at Pinnacle Country Club to top the leaderboard in the 54-hole event, the last tuneup for next week's US Women's Open at Southampton, New York.

Miyazato, who won last year's LPGA Safeway Classic and shared second place at this event in 2012, birdied the par-5 seventh and began a run of three birdies in a row at the ninth hole. She added birdies at the par-4 13th and par-3 15th.

"I had so many good shots today," Miyazato said. "I worked hard on short putts because I changed putters in the Bahamas (at an event last month) so I practiced a lot yesterday and that gave me so much confidence today."

South Korea's Ryu So-Yeon, the 2011 US Women's Open champion. and American Angela Stanford, the 2009 runner-up, shared second on 66.

Another stroke adrift was a group of 10 players that included Norway's Suzann Pettersen, Australian Sarah Kemp, Japan's Chie Arimura and American world number two Stacy Lewis.

Ryu birdied the fifth and seventh holes but gave back a bogey at the par-4 eighth, but began a run of three birdies in a row at the 10th and then closed with a birdie to pull within one of the lead.

"My irons and putting were really great," Ryu said. "I was a little disappointed with my tee shot, but overall things were great. I made a couple really good up and downs, so I'm really positive now."

Stanford, a five-time LPGA winner, had back-to-back birdies at six and seven, stumbled to her lone bogey at the 12th, then answered with a birdie at the 14th and birdies at 16 and 18 as well.

"Today seemed to be fairly consistent ball striking wise. Then putting was pretty good too," Stanford said.

"I just seemed to have a lot of opportunities, so those are good days. It seems like the fairways are firm and fast, which is usually good for me, but the greens are still kind of receptive."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130622/golf-japans-mika-miyazato-grabs-lpga-lead