Japan’s Nasa Hataoka got off to a fast start on Sunday at Aronimink Golf Club, holing a 5-iron approach from188 yards on the difficult opening hole for an eagle-2. Without fans surrounding the green, Hataoka knew the shot was close, but didn’t realize it was in the hole until a member of the television crew told her she’d made a 2.
Mina Harigae made an eagle-2 at the par-4 11th hole a day earlier, holing out from the fairway.
Birdies at the sixth and seventh holes on Sunday pushed Hataoka to 4 under, four shots behind leader Sei Young Kim. She nearly eagled the par-5 16th. She ended up shooting a final-round 64, the second lowest round of the week (to winner Sei Young Kim’s Sunday 63).
Hataoka, 21, is no stranger to wild Sundays at the KPMG Women’s PGA. Two years ago at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago, she began the final round nine shots back, then shot 64 and made her way into a three-way playoff, eventually losing to Sung Hyun Park. And last year at Hazeltine, despite opening the tournament with a round of 76 (leaving her in 82nd place), Hataoka once again stormed back with the best round on Sunday, shooting 65. She tied for 14th.
Hataoka came into Aronimink having finished T-12 or better in five of her seven starts in 2020, including back-to-back runner-up finishes to open the season at the Diamond Resorts TOC and Gainbridge LPGA. She entered the week at No. 5 in the world.
“I had six shots between myself and Sei Young (to start the day), so I thought if I played well enough, I may have a chance,” she said. “So I just fought all the way to the end.”