LPGA Tour: Nasa Hataoka eases to a five-stroke victory at DIO Implant LA Open

    Hataoka bounced back from a missed cut at the LPGA Tour’s Lotte Championship to cruise to a five-shot win in California; Hannah Green in second place, while world No 1 Jin Young Ko finishes tied-21st after disappointing weekend

    Last Updated: 25/04/22 6:43am

    Nasa Hataoka secured a five-shot victory at the LA Open

    Nasa Hataoka secured a sixth LPGA Tour victory and first of the season by easing to a five-shot victory at the DIO Implant LA Open.

    The 23-year-old carded a final-round 67 at Wilshire Country Club to end the week on 15 under, a shot off the 72-hole tournament record, pulling her comfortably ahead of playing partner Hannah Green.

    Taking a four-stroke advantage into the final day, Hataoka birdied three of her opening five holes and bounced back from a bogey at the sixth hole to pick up a shot at the par-three seventh to reach the turn five clear.

    Hataoka was a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour in 2021

    Hataoka was a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour in 2021

    Hataoka eagled 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-three last.

    “I did have a lead, but obviously this course, this challenging course, you never know what’s going to happen, so I was able to focus until the last putt,” Hataoka said. “My goal set for today was 15-under, and I was playing good the first nine holes. My plan was to birdie as many as possible on the first nine holes, and I feel like I was able to do that. So that helped me a lot.”

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    Victory follows a missed cut at last week’s Lotte Championship, just as Jordan Spieth did when he bounced back from an early exit at The Masters to win the RBC Heritage earlier this month, with Hataoka gaining belief from the three-time major winner’s success.

    “I don’t know if I can compare this, 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 was something that boosted my confidence.”

    Green posted a three-under 68 to finish in second and three clear of a three-way 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 ended in tied-21st alongside world No 1 Jin Young Ko, who was tied for the halfway lead before following Saturday’s 72 with a four-over 75 on the final day.

    The LPGA Tour stays in California for the inaugural Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America, held at Palos Verdes Golf Club, which begins on Thursday and is live on Sky Sports Golf.

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