Nasa Hataoka emerges champion in Marathon LPGA Classic

Nasa Hataoka won the rain shortened Marathon LPGA Classic, leading by six strokes through 54 holes.

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Nasa Hataoka - Getty Images - LPGA

12 July 2021: The 2021 Marathon LPGA Classic was shortened to 54 holes after a full day of rain left the course unplayable. Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, who held a six-stroke lead after three rounds, was named the winner, earning her fourth LPGA Tour victory.

“Knowing everybody is working really, really hard to try to get this to a 72-hole tournament. I wish it would’ve been able to do it, but with this weather it was really hard,” said Hataoka. “I’m happy to be able to win.”

Americans Elizabeth Szokol and Mina Harigae tied for second at -13, with both players earning the best finishes of their LPGA Tour careers. Esther Henseleit of Germany finished solo fourth at -12, with Yuka Saso, Amy Yang, Austin Ernst and Caroline Masson tied for fifth at -11. Defending champion Danielle Kang tied for ninth at -10.

Play was initially suspended at 9:40 a.m., with all players having started their rounds. The LPGA Tour and its on-site meteorologist monitored weather conditions all day and course conditions never improved to the point that play could successfully be resumed. The Monday forecast also calls for more rain and storms in the greater Toledo area.

“Our initial weather forecast called for steady morning rain, but eventual clearer conditions. Unfortunately, the clouds stalled overhead and the rain never let up enough for us to regain playable course conditions,” said Sue Witters, the LPGA Tour’s Vice President of Rules and Competitions. “Our first priority is always to complete four and while we hoped to be able to finish on Monday, the weather forecast was again unfavorable after 11 a.m.

“We wish we could have played four rounds, but we are thankful to the players and our tournament partners for their patience on a very difficult day. We are also incredibly appreciative of superintendent Greg Pattinson and the Highland Meadows grounds crew for their phenomenal work all week and especially in today’s difficult conditions.”

Earlier in the week, Aditi Ashok missed out on the money rounds.

The last LPGA Tour competition to be reduced to 54 holes was the 2020 Cambia Portland Classic, which was adversely affected by wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

Trivia

Hataoka’s 194 is her second-lowest 54-hole score; her career-best is 192, set in her win at the 2018 Walmart NWA Championship
Her 194 set the 54-hole scoring record at the Marathon LPGA Classic
This is Hataoka’s fifth year on the LPGA Tour; she has three career victories, most recently at the 2019 Kia Classic
This is Hataoka’s 13th event of the 2021 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is runnerup in a playoff at the U.S. Women’s Open
This is Hataoka’s second appearance in the Marathon LPGA Classic; she missed the cut in 2017
Will represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics in August
Member of Team Japan at the 2018 International Crown, posting a 2-0-1 record
Won the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Japan Women’s Open Championship; in 2016 she was the first amateur and the youngest champion to win a major on the JLPGA
Has six wins on the JLPGA, with four being major titles
She was named Nasa after the American space program because her mother wanted her to accomplish a lot and dream big
If she wasn’t a golfer, she would be an astronaut because she wants to go to space