Nasa Hataoka makes Sunday climb
It wasn’t enough to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, but Nasa Hataoka gave a valiant charge Sunday.
Hataoka started her day by dunking her approach from the fairway for an eagle on the par-4 1st. She didn’t look back after that, finishing with a 6-under 64 – the second-lowest round of the week at Aronimink Golf Club.
Hataoka, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, said she leaned on her ball striking Sunday. On No.1 she dropped her approach with a 5-iron into the hole from 188 yards.
Although she said she couldn’t see the ball roll into the cup on the first hole, she noticed some of the greenside volunteers cheering. Someone from the TV production crew told her it found the bottom of the cup.
“My second shots to the green were very close,” Hataoka said of her ball striking on Sunday. “I would say my iron play was really good today.”
Hataoka lost in a playoff at the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which was her best result in a major. She finished T3 this week.
The highest-ranked Japanese golfer in the world had six shots between herself and the 54-hole leader Sei Young Kim so she wanted to try for a low one Sunday and climb the leaderboard.
“I thought if I played well enough, I may have a chance,” said Hataoka, who needed just 26 putts in the final round at Aronimink. “I just fought all the way to the end.”