Hataoka bounced back from a missed cut to the LPGA Tour’s Lotte Championship to earn a five-stroke victory in California; Hannah Green in second place, while world No. 1 Jin Young Ko finishes tied for 21st after a disappointing weekend
Last update: 25/04/22 06:43
Nasa Hataoka picked up a sixth win on the LPGA Tour and first of the season with a five-stroke win at the DIO Implant LA Open.
The 23-year-old clocked a 67th final round at Wilshire Country Club to end the week on 15 under, a 72-hole tournament record shot, pulling her comfortably past playing partner Hannah Green.
Taking a four-shot advantage on the final day, Hataoka birdied on three of his first five holes and bounced back from a bogey on the sixth hole to land a shot on the par-three seventh to reach turn five clear.
Hataoka hit the par-five 15th to extend her lead over the chasing pack, with her only blemish of the back nine coming when she failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker at par- last three.
“I had a lead, but obviously this course, this tough course, you never know what’s going to happen, so I was able to focus until the last putt,” Hataoka said. “My target for today was minus 15, and I played the first nine holes well. My plan was to birdie as much as possible on the first nine holes, and I feel like I was able to do it. It helped Me a lot.”
LPGA Golf Tour Live
April 28, 2022, 11:30 p.m.
The victory follows a missed cut to the Lotte Championship last week, much like Jordan Spieth did when he bounced back from an early Masters exit to win the RBC Heritage earlier this month, with Hataoka winning in confidence thanks to the success of the three-time major winner.
“I don’t know if I can compare that, but on the PGA Tour, Jordan Spieth missed the cut at the Masters and then won Heritage,” Hataoka added. “So you never know what’s going to happen in golf, so I think that’s something that has boosted my confidence.”
Green posted a three-under 68 for second and three from a three-under tie for third, with Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, South Korea’s Inbee Park and former tournament champion Minjee Lee (68) all on seven under .
Georgia Hall finished tied for 21st alongside world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, who was tied for the lead halfway through before trailing Saturday’s 72 with a four-for-75 on the final day.
The LPGA Tour remains in California for the inaugural Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America, held at the Palos Verdes Golf Club, which begins Thursday and is broadcast live on Sky Sports Golf.