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Miyazato yields top ranking to Kerr ; Brief reign ends despite her 66

Ai Miyazato mounted a comeback in an attempt to save her No. 1 world ranking, but she fell just short Sunday.

"I played really good too, but she [Cristie Kerr] is just better than me," Miyazato said.

Miyazato shot a 6-under 66 in the final round to finish with a 5-under 283 for the tournament. Miyazato needed to finish in second place to keep Kerr from taking the world's top spot. She ended up tied for third.

"Even if it's just for one week, I was able to get experience, and I will take very many positive things out of it," Miyazato said.

The idea of staying on top pushed Miyazato to put together her best performance of the weekend.

"I didn't know about my status until this morning, but in the end I think that might have been a good motivator for today's round," Miyazato said.

Miyazato had seven birdies on the day, more than her first two rounds combined. It included three birdies in a row on Nos. 5, 6, and 7.

"I had many birdie chances out there, and I hit the ball well. I had really strong focus and it was really enjoyable," Miyazato said.

The lone slip up came on No. 18, when she left a long birdie putt about 6 feet short and then failed to make par. She settled for a tap-in bogey. No. 18 plagued Miyazato all weekend. She made bogey all four rounds.

Her final round 66 was remarkable when considering how she started the week. She shot an opening round 4-over 76 and was tied for 97th place. She shot a 1-under 71 on Friday, to sit below the cutline and in a tie for 48th. On Saturday she shot a 2-under 70 to put her at 1 over for the tournament, but still out of contention and in a tie for 24th.

She is still seeking her first victory at a major. Sunday's result matches her previous best performances, a tie for third at the 2006 LPGA Championship and at the 2009 British Open.

Miyazato wasn't the only player to make a charge up the leader board. Morgan Pressel shot a final round 69 to finish at 3-under 285, good enough for a tie for seventh place.

After a first round even par 72, Pressel faltered in the second round with a 4-over 76. Pressel had no birdies on the day and triple-bogeyed No. 4. Her weekend almost ended there, with her score of 148 sitting one stroke below the cutline.

Pressel found her stride on Saturday, and came back with her best performance of the weekend. She shot a 4-under 68 to put her in a tie for 19th place. She birdied six holes, the most of any round this tournament.

She turned in another impressive performance on Sunday. In the final round, she shot four birdies on the back nine, including three in a row.

A tie for seventh place is her second-best result of the season, behind only a tie for sixth at the Kia Classic in March. It was also her best finish in a major since 2008, when she tied for sixth at the LPGA Championship.

Miyazato and Pressel were two of only 13 players to finish under par for the tournament.

e-mail: abremer@buffnews.com

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