Japanese teen Hataoka wins LPGA Japan Classic

Tokyo: Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka shot a dazzling five-under 67 to win the Japan Classic by two strokes on Sunday, her second LPGA Tour triumph this season. Hataoka became the first home player in seven years to win the Japan title, firing seven birdies with two bogeys to finish 14-under par at Seta Golf Club in Shiga.
“I’m glad to win here in Japan,” Hataoka said before a big crowd adding that she had faced “a challenge” after back-to-back bogeys at the 11th and 12th.
The diminutive 19-year-old, who is just 1.58 metres (5ft 2in) tall, sank further birdies at the par-four 14th and par-five last hole to seal the victory.
“I was able to play calmly from the 13th hole,” a smiling Hataoka said as she kissed the winner’s trophy.
In June, Hataoka became the 14th Japanese player to win an LPGA title by finishing 54 holes at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas, on 21-under par 192, the lowest score in tournament history.
Local favourite Momoko Ueda, who won the Japan Classic in 2011, shot five birdies with a bogey for a 68 to share second place with Japan’s Saki Nagamine and Spain’s Carlota Ciganda. — AFP