Golf: Nasa Hataoka wins in Arkansas, Yuka Saso tied for 4th

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Sep 27 2021 10:18 AM

Nasa Hataoka of Japan tees off from the 10th tee box during the final round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club on September 26, 2021 in Rogers, Arkansas. Jamie Sabau, Getty Images/AFP
Nasa Hataoka of Japan tees off from the 10th tee box during the final round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club on September 26, 2021 in Rogers, Arkansas. Jamie Sabau, Getty Images/AFP

Nasa Hataoka broke away from the pack early in Sunday's final round and held on to win the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark.

The 22-year-old from Japan earned her fifth LPGA Tour title and her second since her runner-up finish in a playoff at the U.S. Women's Open in June. Hataoka, who also won this event in 2018, won the Marathon Classic in July.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 67 on the final day of the 54-hole event to finish at 16-under 197, one stroke better than Australia's Minjee Lee and South Korea's Eun-Hee Ji.

Hataoka admitted she does like playing at Pinnacle Country Club.

"The grasses type, it matches what I was doing when I was young, and so I'm able to kind of know how it reacts, so that kind of helps me," she said. "And so I like this course, yeah."

Hataoka and Lee entered Sunday as co-leaders, and the former shot ahead with five birdies on her first 11 holes. But a bogey on No. 13 pushed her a step back toward the field, and she would go on to shoot par on every remaining hole.

Lee crept up the leaderboard with birdies at Nos. 10, 14 and 17 but came up short with her 3-under 68.

"Overall I was solid all three days," Lee said. "I missed a couple birdie opportunities today that I probably should have made. Under the circumstances Nasa did play really well today. I'm just disappointed with my second shot on 18, but I still had a great week."

Ji posted a 67 with an eagle at the par-5 14th hole, two birdies and no bogeys.

Danielle Kang and the Philippines' Yuka Saso posted 6-under 65s to tie for fourth at 14 under. Former Arkansas Razorback Stacy Lewis (66) tied for sixth with South Korea's Jin Young Ko (67) at 12 under.

"I found something this week. Ball striking was so much better, and it was great today with wind picking up," Lewis said. "If I can just line up the speed a little bit better on the greens, we'll be in really good shape.

"Hit it really solid, just never really got the putter going. Today, I made five birdies and three were within about a foot and a half, and one was a chip-in."

So Yeon Ryu of South Korea fired a 9-under 62 Sunday, the lowest round of the tournament. That lifted her into an eight-way tie for eighth at 11 under.