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LPGA Awards: Gustafson, Miyazato Voted Winners by Peers

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LPGA players voted on two awards and selected Sophie Gustafson as the winner of the Heather Farr Perseverance Award and Ai Miyazato the winner of the William & Mousie Powell Award.

Fifteen-year LPGA Tour veteran and Sweden native Sophie Gustafson has lived with a speech impediment since childhood. It wasn't until last year's Solheim Cup that Gustafson participated in her first-ever television interview with Golf Channel. Since her courageous interview, Gustafson has opened up to the media about her stuttering to spread the word about the speech impediment.

"I'm very honored and humbled to be given this award from my peers," Gustafson said of winning the award. "To be able to get the word out there about stuttering is immensely important and I'm very happy I gotten the opportunity to do so.

The Heather Farr Player award honors an LPGA player who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player. The LPGA established the award in 1994 to celebrate the life of Farr, an LPGA Tour player who died on Nov. 20, 1993, following a four-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. Past winners of this award include: Heather Farr, Shelley Hamlin, Martha Nause, Terry-Jo Myers, Lorie Kane, Nancy Scranton, Brandi Burton, Kris Tschetter, Kim Williams, Beth Daniel, Colleen Walker, Amy Read, Se Ri Pak and Leta Lindley.

Nine-time LPGA Tour winner Ai Miyazato is the recipient of the William and Mousie Powell Award which is given to an LPGA member who, in the opinion of her playing peers, by her behavior and deeds, best exemplifies the spirits, ideals and values of the LPGA.

A star on the JLPGA prior to joining the LPGA Tour in 2006, Miyazato recorded seven top-10 finishes in her rookie season. Three years later she became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2009 Evian Masters defeating Sophie Gustafson in a one-hole sudden-death playoff. The next season, Miyazato captured five victories and held the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings for 11 weeks.

A native of Okinawa Japan, Miyazato joined forces with fellow Japanese LPGA Tour members Mika Miyazato and Momoko Ueda to set up a fundraising website to help their country recover from the devastating earthquake in 2011. In addition to the nonprofit relief organization, the trio of players designed buttons with "Makeruna Nippon," or "Never Give Up Japan."

"I am truly honored to be named the winner of this prestigious award," said Miyazato. "The LPGA is made up of many players from around the world with diverse personalities and styles, which makes this tour so original and appealing. So I feel that each player on tour contributes to presenting the LPGA in its current positive image and feel that I am just one of them. However, it feels special to get voted on by my peers and I feel very proud to receive the award. I will continue to do the best I can to represent the LPGA and show why it's different out here."

The late Mousie Powell, for whom this award was named, was a close supporter and friend of the LPGA from the 1950s until her death on Jan. 18, 1997. She was married to William Powell, a Hollywood legend and one of its leading male actors. Mousie, who was also featured in movies during that time, started the William and Mousie Award in 1986. Past recipients include: Kathy Whitworth, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Betsy King, Juli Inkster, and Lorena Ochoa.