Nasa Hataoka Opens With 61, Leads Marathon LPGA Classic

Nasa Hataoka Marathon LPGA Classic
Nasa Hataoka tees off on the third tee during the first round of the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana golf tournament at Highland Meadows GC in Sylvania, Ohio on July 8, 2021. (Photo by Jorge Lemus NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nasa Hataoka opened with a 10-under 61 to take a four-stroke lead at the Marathon LPGA Classic.

The Japanese star finished her first day at Highland Meadows Golf Club with 10 birdies, highlighted by six straight in the middle of her round.

It was a career low score for Hataoka, and the lowest opening-round score on the LPGA Tour in nearly seven years. Hyo Joo Kim is the last player to open with a 61 or better (2014 Evian Masters).

“I didn’t feel any pressure on myself or didn’t feel way good,” said Hataoka, who hit all 18 greens in regulation.

“Everything was just right at the center, so I guess I would say it was the zone, yes. I was able to control everything.”

She added, “When I had my ninth birdie, it kind of did come to my mind. But then after I only having two holes, I just thought how great Annika (Sorenstam) was more than me getting it.”

Alone in second was Lauren Stephenson, who was four off the pace, after a bogey-free 65.

“I really like this golf course. I knew I wanted to take last week in Dallas off and be ready for this week because I feel like it sets up well for my game,” said Stephenson.

“I love the small greens and tree-lined fairways. I really enjoy it, and I feel like it sets up well for me.

“And then not having the fans last year, it’s really nice to have everyone back.”

Five players were tied for third on 5-under 66, including last week’s runner-up Matilda Castren.

Defending Marathon LPGA Classic champion Danielle Kang was T44 on 1-under 70.

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