Japanese golfer Nasa Hataoka moved into competition for her seventh LPGA title on the season-opening Match of Champions, firing a 6-under 66 in Saturday’s third spherical to shut inside three strokes of chief Brooke Henderson.
The 24-year-old Hataoka jumped three spots up the leaderboard, tying for second with American Nelly Korda at 11 beneath, after carding the bottom rating of the spherical at Orlando’s Lake Nona Golf and Nation Membership.
Nasa Hataoka of Japan hits an method shot on the sixth gap throughout the third spherical of the LPGA’s season-opening Hilton Grand Holidays Match of Champions at Lake Nona Golf and Nation Membership in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 21, 2023. (Kyodo)
Following a fair entrance 9, Hataoka sank six birdies after the flip to place herself in place to chase down Canadian star Henderson on the ultimate day.
“I wasn’t actually in a position to enhance my rating on the entrance 9, however my placing improved on the again 9 and I had plenty of good birdies,” Hataoka stated. “My method pictures are additionally feeling higher.”
The pace-setter from the opening spherical, Henderson began the day 4 strokes forward of Korda however noticed her lead shrink with a 69.
Japan’s Yuka Saso jumped 10 spots and right into a tie for sixth at 6 beneath following her finest spherical of 67. The third member of the Japanese contingent, Girls’s Scottish Open champion Ayaka Furue, shot 73 and is tied for 18th at 2 beneath.
The Match of Champions is being contested by 29 LPGA title winners from the previous two seasons.