Sat, Aug 25, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Hataoka birdies final hole to share Canadian Open lead

AFP, REGINA, Saskatchewan

Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka on Thursday produced a final-hole birdie to grab a share of the first-round lead at the CP Women’s Open with a scintillating eight-under-par 64.

The 19-year-old prodigy joined a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at Wascana Country Club in Regina after carding nine birdies and one bogey in a superb opening round.

Hataoka capped her strong start after nailing the birdie on her 18th hole to move alongside Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe at eight-under.

All three members of the leading group equaled the course record at Wascana.

World No. 2 Ariya, who bagged the second major of her career at the US Women’s Open in June, drained nine birdies and only one bogey for her 64.

Uribe, ranked 173rd in the world, produced a flawless round with eight birdies and 10 pars.

Ariya had a dream start after teeing off on the 10th, reeling off four consecutive birdies to drop to four-under early on.

She dropped a shot on her seventh hole of the day, but then unleashed another birdie blitz on her inward nine, with five more birdies to finish on eight-under.

The 22-year-old from Bangkok credited a relaxed approach for her low-scoring round.

“I feel I’ve been playing pretty good for the last few weeks and I didn’t finish the way that I wanted,” Ariya said.

“Today my goal is just like don’t worry about the future too much. Don’t think about what I’m going to shoot today. Just try to focus on things I can control,” she said.

Uribe said that she had been determined to exploit benign weather conditions, which were expected to give way to strong winds in the second round.

“I took advantage of that good weather we had this morning,” Uribe said. “No wind; a little cold, but nothing crazy.”

“It’s nice to get it done and actually take advantage of the great weather we had, because tomorrow seems like it’s going to be windy,” she said.

Hataoka, Ariya and Uribe were one stroke clear of the US’ Angel Yin and Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who both shot 65.

Behind Yin and Madsen lurked a menacing chasing pack of seven players on six-under, including Canadian youngster Brooke Henderson, former world No. 1 Lydia Ko and Australia’s Minjee Lee.

Taiwan’s Yani Tseng finished the first round with a share of 35th on three-under 69, while Hsu Wei-ling was in a group on 52nd after a two-under 70, Chien Pei-yun carded a one-under 71 for a share of 80th and Min Lee finished even-par for a share of 109th.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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