Golf: Japan's Nasa Hataoka claims LPGA title in Ohio as rain washes out final round

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Japan’s Nasa Hataoka claimed her fourth LPGA Tour title on Sunday (July 11) as rain washed out the final round of the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.

“Course conditions have not improved at the Marathon LPGA and it remains unplayable,” a tweet from the LPGA said. “Finishing the tournament tomorrow is not an option due to an unfavourable forecast. The tournament will be reduced to a 54-hole event with Nasa Hataoka as the winner!”

It would have taken Hataoka’s rivals some doing to catch the 22-year-old, who took a commanding six-shot lead into the scheduled final round with a 54-hole total of 19-under 194.

She had hit 17 of 18 fairways and rolled in eight birdies in her seven-under 64 on Saturday, increasing the lead she had first seized with sparkling first-round 61 – the lowest opening round score on the LPGA Tour in almost seven years.

Her 19-under total was a 54-hole scoring record for the tournament, one stroke better than the 195 set three times by Pak Se-ri in 1998 and matched by Paula Creamer in 2008 and Yi Eun-jung in 2009.

With inclement weather in the forecast, Sunday’s tee times were moved up in a bid to get the round in.

But play was suspended at 9:40am, and heavy downpours left the course unplayable.

For hours organisers waited it out, hoping they would be able to complete the round, finally calling it quits shortly after 3:30pm local time.

Hataoka, runner-up to Yuka Saso in a playoff at the US Women’s Open, claimed her first title since the 2019 Kia Classic.

Americans Elizabeth Szokol and Mina Harigae finished tied for second at 13 under par, Germany’s Esther Henseleit was fourth on 12 under, with Saso, South Korean Amy Yang, Germany’s Caroline Masson and American Austin Ernst a shot back.

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