Nasa Hataoka closed with a 67, capped by a birdie on the final hole, to win the TOTO Japan Classic by two strokes, adding to an LPGA storyline in which globetrotting stars have risen to the occasion on home soil in 2018.
A slight downhill tee sets up a chance to reach this par-5 in two. The two-tiered green has a strong undulation, avoid being above the pin at all costs. A great birdie opportunity hole.
A short par-4 . Keeping the tee shot in the center or right of the fairway is more important than how far one carries it. Even with a short second shot, the elevated green makes it difficult to see the green. The green has a gentle uphill undulation from front to back and to the left.
A slight left dogleg par-4. Best to hit the tee shot to the right of the fairway. Small uphill green with little undulation.
A straight par-4. Keep the tee shot left of the fairway by aiming left. The elevated green has a slight uphill slope in the front, but the backside is faster than it looks.
The only hole with the same elevation from tee to green. A relatively short hole but the sand trap in front of the green may seem a bit intimidating, but the green is large and players can take dead aim for the pin.
The longest par-4. An accurate second shot will be required since it slopes to the left. Miss the green, and one will end up in a deep guard bunker. From the 100 yard mark a 10 meter elevated green awaits. There’s little undulation but avoid landing the ball pin high.
The only dogleg right par-5. There are trees and a ravine to the right, but a player confident in distance and accuracy can take a short cut over the right. This is where a player needs distance, accuracy and courage. The right hand guard bunker is deep and there is little undulation on the green.
A five meter downhill par-3. Small green with undulation makes this a difficult hole.
A slight dogleg right par-4. Aiming for the left side of the fairway is best. The uphill second shot makes it difficult to calculate the yardage for the next shot. A gentle uphill green with very little undulation.
A par-4 overlooking the Bay of Ago to the left. The left side of the fairway is the preferred position and a precision shot is required. An uphill second shot and wind direction makes it difficult to calculate the yardage.
A beautiful par-3 overlooking the Bay of Ago. The difficulty of this hole will vary depending on how the wind blows. The front of the green plays fast so a precision shot is required to the pin.
Hit the tee shot left of the cross bunker. A deep Alison-style bunker to the right as high as one’s height comes in to play, and the deepest one guards the green. A player may take a chance and go for it. This hole will certainly test the professionals’ skills.
A gentle downhill shot off the tee with a slight undulation in the fairway. A par-5 with a two-tiered green where one needs to go for a birdie.
Landing the tee shot to the right of the fairway is best, but the three consecutive bunkers come into play and distance and accuracy is required on this hole. Avoid the deep and large Alison Style bunker to the left of the green and go for a birdie with an accurate approach shot.
A straight and wide fairway that players can go for the distance. An uphill approach shot makes it difficult to see the green. An accurate yardage shot is required here.
A downhill and an uphill par-5, with most second shots ending up on a downhill lie requiring high level technique. The elevated green is guarded by a deep bunker. One can play aggressive and go for it in two, or play it safe and aim for par. Nearing the end of the round dramatic outcome may well be expected.
A beautifully landscaped longer par-3 with a lake, creek and a beach bunker. There is a slight undulation on the green. The difficulty of this hole will vary depending on where the pin is located. It’s also a hole where a player may aggressively go for an ace.
A long distance hole with an uphill second shot. Players need to avoid the five bunkers guarding the green. A precision shot is required to make this a great finishing hole.