Pro Golf Weekly

Nasa Hataoka Wins Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

Nasa Hataoka fired a final-day 8-under par 63 en route to a six-shot victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

Credit: Getty Images/Drew Hallowell

Entering the day tied for the lead with Australian Minjee Lee at 13 under, the 19-year old Japanese star pulled away early, making four gains on the out-nine to turn in 32 with a five-shot advantage.

Hataoka never let up, though, and finished her in-nine bogey-free with four more birdies to sign for an 8-under 63 and a record-setting three-day score of 21-under par.

“I was focusing on my game for the entire 18 and I’m so happy to win,” said Hataoka, who becomes the first Japanese winner since Haru Nomura won the 2017 Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.

“I played with Lexi and all the big names and that was big for me and winning this tournament was huge for me.”

Austin Ernst carded a 65 to finish alone in second at 15-under par, one clear of a logjam at 13 under, headlined by Lexi Thompson (69) and Lee (71), who joined Hataoka in Sunday’s final threesome.


FINAL TOP 10

1. Nasa Hataoka -21
2. Austin Ernst -15
3. Ryann O’Toole -13
3. Sandra Gal -13
3. Ally McDonald -13
3. Brittany Altomare -13
3. Lexi Thompson -13
3. Minjee Lee -13
9. Haeji Kang -12
9. Jin Young Ko -12
9. Lydia Ko -12
9. Anna Nordqvist -12
9. Cristie Kerr -12
9. Mariah Stackhouse -12

TOP CASHERS

1st – $300,000 (Hataoka)
2nd – $182,538 (Ernst)
T3 – $81,783 each (O’Toole, Altomare, Lee, Thompson, Gal, McDonald)
T9 – $36,827 (Stackhouse, Kerr, Nordqvist, L.Ko, J.Ko, Kang)


VIDEO: FINAL-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS


EARLY-ROUND POSITIONING

ROUND ONE
1. Gaby Lopez -8 (63)
2. Aditi Ashok -7 (64)
2. Mirim Lee -7 (64)
2. Lizette Salas -7 (64)
2. Moriya Jutanugarn -7 (64)
2. Minjee Lee -7 (64)
2. Catriona Matthew -7 (64)
2. Nasa Hataoka -7 (64)

ROUND TWO
1. Nasa Hataoka -13 (64-65)
1. Minjee Lee -13 (64-65)
3. Lexi Thompson -11 (67-64)


WINNING STATS

Driving Distance: 274.5 yards
Fairways-Hit: 33/39, 84.6%
Greens-Hit: 48/54, 88.8%
Putts/GIR: 83/1.728
Par-3 Scoring: -7 (7 Birdies, 8 Pars)
Par-4 Scoring: -9 (9 Birdies, 18 Pars)
Par-5 Scoring: -5 (7 Birdies, 4 Pars, 1 Bogey)
Total Scoring: 23 Birdies, 30 Pars, 1 Bogey


THE TURNING POINT

Credit: Getty Images/Drew Hallowell

Nasa Hataoka and Minjee Lee entered the day tied for the lead at 13-under par.

Paired together, both made pars on the opening two holes to remain deadlocked at 13-under par, but on the par-3 3rd hole, Hataoka chipped in from off the green for birdie, while Lee made bogey.

And just like that the spread was two and the Japanese teen never looked back.

“Winning this tournament was huge for me.”
– Nasa Hataoka

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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