LPGA Star, Nasa Hataoka, Takes Off with Win in Arkansas
The LPGA has found its latest teenage sensation – introducing 19-year-old Nasa Hataoka, Sunday’s winner of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. And if you’re wondering, yes she is named after the American space program!
Hataoka produced a gorgeous 8-under 63 during the final round to finish with a record-breaking 21-under par total, six-strokes ahead of her nearest competition. The incredible score is the lowest in the tournament’s history and firmly places the Japanese player on everyone’s radar.
“She played amazing,” said world number three Lexi Thompson speaking after Hataoka’s win. “She’s just got a great game, no weaknesses, pretty long off the tee and just rolls it amazing on the greens. So it was great to watch. It was definitely a well-deserved win.”
While this is Hataoka’s first win on the American LPGA Tour, it isn’t her first time in the winner’s circle. When she was just 17 the Japanese golfer won the Japan Women’s Open, becoming the first ever amateur to win a major on the Japan LPGA Tour. While she struggled a bit during her rookie season in the U.S. last year, 2018 has proved to be a major milestone for the teenager. Racking up five top-10 finishes in her last six starts, including Sunday’s win and a tenth place finish at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.
Hataoka’s victory in Arkansas moves her up to 19th in the world rankings and gives the teenager the perfect boost of confidence as she begins her quest to capture her first major LPGA title this weekend at the Women’s PGA Championship in Illinois.
Here’s a look at the gear Hataoka is using on Tour:
Ball: Srixon Z-Star
Driver: Srixon Z 765
Fairway Wood: Srixon Z F 65
Hybrids: Srixon Z H 45
Irons: Srixon Z U 65; Srixon Z 745
Wedges: Cleveland RTX 2.0 PF
Putter: Ping Scottsdale TR Piper C