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Golf: Hataoka wins 5th LPGA title at NW Arkansas Championship

Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, holds the trophy after winning the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, on Sept. 26, 2021, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

ROGERS, Arkansas (Kyodo) -- Nasa Hataoka won the NW Arkansas Championship for the second time on Sunday, this time with a 16-under winning total, moving into third on Japan's all-time LPGA Tour wins list with five.

    The 22-year-old from Japan, who won her first career title on the U.S. tour in the same event in 2018, now ranks behind retired players Ayako Okamoto, who holds the record for wins with 17, and Ai Miyazato, who is second with nine.

    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. Her week at Pinnacle Country Club included two hole-in-ones and a nervy finish.

    "I'm really happy to have won twice on this memorable course," Hataoka said.

    "This win was the most nervous that I've ever been. I three-putted the 18th green but every time I placed the ball down my hands were shaking. Winning here is a huge confidence boost. I want to work hard and try to win as many events remaining this season as possible."

    After closing her front nine with a four-birdie run, Hataoka made only one birdie on the back nine and a bogey, leaving room for others to make the most of the final few holes, with Lee being her biggest threat.

    Lee's birdie at the 17th put her within one of Hataoka heading into the par-5 18th. Had Hataoka had missed her par putt on the 18th, she would have been faced with a three-woman playoff. But she saved par to secure her second victory this season.

    Filipino-Japanese player Yuka Saso and U.S. player Danielle Kang each closed with a 65 to tie for fourth at 14-under.

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