After a round of 67 finals, Nasa Hataoka took her second title of the season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, presented by P&G on Sunday. In the morning with 36-hole co-leaders Minjee Lee and Eun-Hee Ji, Hataoka captured her fifth career win on the LPGA Tour and her second win in Rogers, Ark., After first winning at Rolex in 2018, Pinnacle Country Club.
“My first win here and of course the two hole-in-ones, it feels like it’s my power point,” said Hataoka, who also set the tournament record in 2018.
Hataoka carded birdies on her first two holes and scored three more at numbers 4, 7 and 11. As she approached the green at 13, Hataoka saved the bogey after putting a 50-foot near the pin had placed. The 22-year-old held up well with Pars until the end, overtaking Hiromi Kobayashi for the third-most wins by a Japanese player, behind Ayako Okamoto (17) and Ai Miyazato (9).
“It was pretty tight, very stressful because the other players were so close to me. It was pretty stressful for me, yes, ”said Hataoka. “The grass type goes with what I did when I was young, so I kind of know how he’s reacting, so it kind of helps me. And that’s why I like this course. “
Lee and Ji tied for second place with -15. Lee fought on the first nine, carding two birdies and two bogeys to make the turn four strokes behind Hataoka. The Australian quickly turned it around and scored three more birdies to make her fifth top five performance of the season. Ji’s round was highlighted by an eagle at # 14 that got her back into the fight, followed by a memorable birdie at the final hole.
“Actually on the last hole [my ball was] by doing [greenside] Bunker. It was in a really bad place for this pen. I was like, ‘Oh, back bunker, oh, I’m in a really bad position. How can I stop the ball from there? ‘ I think maybe I can hit harder from out there because there’s no way out of the bunker. I’ve never tried, ”said Ji, whose tie for second place will be her best result of the season.
Major champions Yuka Saso and Danielle Kang both scored 6-under 65 and finished fourth with -14 points. Saso, who made her first career appearance in Arkansas after a month’s hiatus, ended her weekend with Eagles in 7th and 18th place.
“I probably had 230 [yards] to the flag [on No. 7], Help wind. Probably had 5 wood like 50 or 60 foot putt, left to right. Quite a long putt. It was pretty good and went in. Maybe luck, ”said Saso. “On the 18th I liked 210-215 up to the flag. I had a 5 wood again and after hitting I said ‘good’. So I got a pretty good shot and had two eagles today. “
University of Arkansas Alumna Stacy Lewis and Rolex Rankings No. 2 Jin Young Ko finished 6th in a draw with -12. Eight players finished eighth, with -11, including 2017 Walmart NW Arkansas Champion So Yeon Ryu, who scored a 62 in the final round of the week.
“I had 10 birdies today. You know, it felt really bad to make the second hole because that was a three-putt. But it was really, really great to have a super low lap. Haven’t done it in a while. And then it definitely helps me to gain self-confidence, ”said Ryu, who originally set the 18-hole scoring record with her victory in 2017. “Today my second shot was definitely much better, which means that I am in the right direction. I really want to take this opportunity to build my confidence and then just keep enjoying golf. “