Hjorth wins Mizuno Classic

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The Independent Online

Maria Hjorth shot a 5-under-par 67 today to finish five strokes better than four runners-up in the $800,000 Mizono Classic in Otsu, Japan, this season's penultimate event on the US LPGA Tour.

Maria Hjorth shot a 5-under-par 67 today to finish five strokes better than four runners-up in the $800,000 Mizono Classic in Otsu, Japan, this season's penultimate event on the US LPGA Tour.

The Swede, playing with a mixed set including clubs borrowed from the Seta Golf Club in western Japan, won the $120,000 winner's prize with a 54-hole total of 15-under 201.

Tied for second at 10-under 206 were Laura Davies and three standouts from the Japan LPGA - leading money-winner Fumiko Muraguchi, Aki Nakano and South Korean Ku Ok-hee.

"When I didn't get my clubs Wednesday night, I told myself as long as I didn't let it bother me, it would be okay," said Hjorth, who moves up three places to 11th on the money list.

From Phoenix on Monday, her luggage was sent to Las Vegas, instead of her connection in Los Angeles.

When she arrived in Japan, neither her suitcase nor her golf bag had made it. She received her clothes on Tuesday night, but the airline lost her clubs again.

On Friday, Hjorth played the first round with a set of borrowed clubs and shot a 2-under 70.

When her golf bag finally arrived on Friday night, she decided to stick with her loaned irons, driver and putter, adding to the bag her own fairway woods and wedges.

It turned out to be a good decision. Hjorth tied her career-low round of 64 in the second round on Saturday. With a two-shot lead at the start of Sunday's final round, her 67 was more than enough.

"I just figured you have to do the best you can with what you have. I tried to use something similar to what I usually play. I didn't let myself get down," Hjorth said.

"To win once is one thing, but to do it again proves to myself that this could be a regular thing," said a jubilant Hjorth, who won her first LPGA victory less than two months agao at the Safeco Classic.

"For me, it seems harder to lead than to come from behind. I was the leader going into the final round of Tournament of Champions, and I learned a lot from that experience," said Hjorth, who finished second to Japan's Akiko Fukushima in that tournament three weeks ago.

"I just wanted to go out today and do my best to make birdies one by one," she added.

Hjorth made birdie on the second hole and an eagle on the sixth moving up to 13-under. She added two more birdies before her lone bogey came on the par-4 13th, where she missed the fairway and the green, and couldn't get up-and-down for par.

She got back to 15-under with a birdie on No 17.

Davies, who will defend at next week's PageNet Championship, posted the day's best round of 66, pulling into a four-way tie for second.

"When I got to nine-under after 11 holes, I thought there was a chance. I was thinking maybe four more birdies would do it. But we see now even that wouldn't have been enough," Davies said. "Maria just played fantastic golf."

Muraguchi and Nakano shot identical rounds of 70-66-70 to finish in the foursome tied for second.

Ku, a winner on the LPGA Tour in 1988 who now plays solely in Japan, had a final round of 67.

Final scores of the Mizuno Classic, a US LPGA event played at the 6,423-yard (5,845-meter), par-72 Seta Golf Club North Course in western Japan:

Maria Hjorth 70-64-67-201 Laura Davies 70-70-66-206 Ku Ok-hee 69-70-67-206 Aki Nakano 70-66-70-206 Fumiko Muraguchi 70-66-70-206 Carin Koch 68-71-68-207Helen Dobson 72-66-69-207 Jenny Lidback 71-67-69-207 Sherri Turner 69-72-67-208 Ko Woo-soon 67-71-70-208 Sherri Steinhauer 71-66-71-208 Rachel Hetherington 67-70-71-208 Charlotta Sorenstam 69-70-70-209 Lorie Kane 71-67-71-209 Midori Yoneyama 70-73-67-210 Tina Barrett 70-71-69-210 Catriona Matthew 70-71-69-210 Hisako Takeda 72-68-70-210 Rosie Jones 69-71-70-210 Denise Killeen 69-71-70-210 Akiko Fukushima 72-71-68-211 Kim Saiki 72-70-69-211 Jill McGill 70-72-69-211 Toshimi Kimura 69-71-71-211 Hiromi Kobayashi 72-67-72-211 Michele Redman 71-68-72-211 Jan Stephenson 70-69-72-211 Akane Ohshiro 75-69-68-212 Mi Hyun Kim 72-72-68-212 Yuri Fudoh 71-72-69-212 Cindy Flom 74-67-71-212 Wendy Doolan 71-69-72-212 Gail Graham 70-70-72-212 Mayumi Hirase 68-72-72-212 Cindy McCurdy 65-72-75-212 Lee Young-me 71-73-69-213 Michie Ohba 69-70-74-213 Hollis Stacy 74-72-68-214 Fuki Kido 75-69-70-214Pearl Sinn 71-71-72-214 Liselotte Neumann 70-71-73-214Kim Man-soo 72-73-70-215 Tseng Hsiu-feng 71-74-70-215 Miyuki Shimabukuro 74-70-71-215 Susan Ginter 69-75-71-215 Cindy Figg-Currier 74-69-72-215 Keiko Arai 71-72-72-215 Harumi Sakagami 77-70-69-216 Suzanne Strudwick 76-70-70-216 Nahoko Hirao 76-70-70-216 Yoko Inoue 73-72-71-216 Susie Redman 70-75-71-216 Leigh Ann Mills 69-76-71-216 Hiromi Takamura 72-72-72-216 Eva Dahllof 71-71-74-216 Yuko Moriguchi 75-72-70-217 Maggie Will 72-75-70-217 Shin Sora 70-74-73-217 Jean Bartholomew 69-75-73-217 Kyoko Ono 72-71-74-217 Yuka Irie 72-68-77-217 Han Hee-won 74-74-70-218 Moira Dunn 70-78-70-218 Ayako Okamoto 73-71-74-218 Kasumi Fujii 71-73-74-218 Junko Yasui 73-75-71-219 A.J. Eathorne 73-72-74-219 Aki Takamura 73-69-77-219 Becky Iverson 75-72-73-220 Mardi Lunn 77-71-73-221 Nancy Scranton 77-71-75-223 Chieko Nishida 74-74-75-223 Won Jae-sook 76-70-77-223