SPORTS

Local favorite Nasa Hataoka fires 67 to win Japan Classic

By AP
  • Published : Nov 4, 2018 - 20:59
  • Updated : Nov 4, 2018 - 20:59
Local favorite Nasa Hataoka shot a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the Japan Classic for her second LPGA title of the season.

Hataoka offset a pair of bogeys with seven birdies at the Seta Golf Club to finish at 14-under 202, two strokes ahead of compatriots Momoka Ueda, Saki Nagamine and Spain's Carlota Ciganda, who all shot 68.

(AP-Yonhap)
Hataoka, who also won the Arkansas Championship in June, started the final round four strokes behind second-round leader Minjee Lee. Lee quickly faded, playing the opening nine at 7-over 43 and opening the door for Hataoka, who played the same stretch at 4-under 36. Hataoka had a setback after the turn, carding consecutive bogeys at the 11th and 12th and allowing Ciganda to briefly pull into a tie for the lead. But Hataoka regained her confidence with a clutch par save at No. 13, and her birdie at No. 14 reclaimed the lead.

“I realize something has to come to me and I had to get through it, and I knew it was at the 13th hole,” said Hataoka of the putt that saved her round. “I was not totally comfortable with the shot, but I was calm enough to play well on that hole.”  

Ciganda had a chance to tie Hataoka at No. 18 but left her birdie putt from above the hole too short. Hataoka's birdie putt fell, clinching a hard-fought home win.  

South Korean golfers Jin Young Ko (66) and Ji-Hee Lee (68) were tied for fifth at 11-under 205.

Lee struggled with her game and had back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 as part of a 78 that left her tied for 15th.

“I didn't hit the shots that I wanted very solid,” Lee said. “So obviously it didn't go the way I wanted.”

The LPGA stop in Japan is the fourth of five consecutive tournaments across Asia. (AP)