The 19 year old joined the tour as a rookie in 2017.
By: Doug Pickering & Carlos Chicas
Photos: Walfri Rodas & Crant Osborne
Video: James Sandoval & Edgar Magaña
The WalMart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G was won by 19 year old Nasa Hataoka, for her first career win, shooting a tournament record 21 strokes under par, 192. She ran away with the tourney shooting an 8 under par, 63, to dominate. 26 year old, Austin Ernst from South Carolina, came in second, 6 strokes back, at -15.
The tournament was held over 3 days at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers Arkansas on the par 71, 6331 yards, golf course.
The young Hataoka, from Japan, who has 4 top 10 finishes in 10 events this year, was dominating shattering the tournament record previously set last year by So-yeon Ryu at -18 par. “When I turned pro, I had a goal: within two years, I wanted to win an LPGA event. Today I achieved that goal.” Said Hataoka during the trophy ceremony.
Lizette Salas, from Azusa, CA, whose parents immigrated from Mexico before Lizette was born, finished with a 1 under par, 70, and finished her day in a tie for 18th place, after beginning her day tied for 6th place. Part of her day included bogeying the par 5, 7th hole, the easiest on the course, but then birdieing the par 4-13th, the toughest! “ I felt good, the sport of golf is complicated and sometimes things don’t go as planned, I learned a lot playing under this conditions, I don’t thing the rain affected my swing, I have to stay focus, I will need more time to evaluate what went wrong, but I think I played good, I got a little frustrated but this is golf and I will continue fighting to get better. I like coming to NW Arkansas, the fans are great, I love the environment and the golf course is in magnificent conditions, I am looking forward for next year.” Concluded Salas.
Local favorite Stacy Lewis, finished with a 5 under par 66 and finished in T-22nd place. Lewis who is an expectant mother revealed Friday that she is having a girl with husband, and University of Houston golf coach, Gerrod Chadwell .
2015 grad and 1st team All-American golfer while at the University of Arkansas, Gabby Lopez, couldn’t follow up with her opening round, and career best, 8 strokes under par, 63, with her play over the weekend. She shot 75 Saturday followed by a 71 Sunday, to finish with a -4, 209, finishing in T-55.
Mariajo Uribe, from Columbia, struggled with a 1 over,72 to end up in T-37, when most of the golfer were going low on the rain softened golf course from early Sunday’s rain. She started her day T-13th.
Two other U of A amateur golfer, Maria Fassi and Dylan Kim failed to qualify for Sunday’s play after missing the cut line of -2, following the first 2 day of play. Kim shot scores of 70 – 72 for even par 142. While Fassi ended her 2 days shooting +4 with scores of 72 -72.