Ai Miyazato aims for LPGA trifecta to start the year

The LPGA has run in fits and starts this year thanks to sponsorship woes, and this weekend's Kia Classic is the first event of the year to take place on U.S. soil. Probably because of the scattershot nature of the early season, most casual golf fans aren't taking notice of an exceptional event that's taken place: Ai Miyazato could set an LPGA record by winning the first three events of the season.

Six women have won the first two tournaments of the season, but until Miyazato, none since Marilynn Smith in 1966.

The big charge comes at an opportune time. So far, new LPGA commish Mike Whan has inspired confidence in fans, media and players alike. But he's got a huge boulder to push uphill. A good early-season run by Miyazato could help bring more notice to the LPGA.

Still, it's not going so well. On the first day at the Kia, she shot a +2 74, leaving her eight shots out of the lead. At this writing, she's +1 in the second round. So perhaps three in a row is a bit much to expect, but hey -- golf's all about unreasonable expectations.