ABIKO, CHIBA PREFECTURE – Nasa Hataoka blasted into the record books on Sunday, when the 18-year-old became only the second golfer to repeat as the Japan Women’s Open champion.
Hataoka, who seized her maiden title last year as an amateur, held onto her third-round lead at Abiko Golf Club outside Tokyo, wrapping up with a 65 that saw her finish at 20-under-par 268, eight strokes ahead of South Korean superstar Shin Ji-yai.
Victory for the 18-year-old Hataoka put her in the elite company of Japanese legend Hisako Higuchi, who won the event four times running from 1968 to 1971 and also went back-to-back in 1976 and 1977.
“Being able to do this is really great,” Hataoka said. “My irons were consistent and it was amazing how my putts fell for me.
“I feel this championship is extremely meaningful because my generation must lead Japan.”
It was Hataoka’s second win this season after her victory at last weekend’s Dunlop Women’s Open.