Nasa Hataoka thinks 59, shoots 61 to lead at Marathon LPGA Classic

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Amid the daily grind, every player patiently waits for that magical time when the driver, irons and putter are all working together. On Thursday at the Marathon LPGA Classic, Nasa Hataoka got her magic moment shooting 29-32 for a career-low 61. Hataoka was bogey-free and currently leads by four shots in Round 1. 

Hataoka missed the cut in her most recent start at the KPMG Women’s PGA and blamed her inconsistent iron play. She said that was the focus of practice ahead of this week, and that practice paid off. 

“I was able to control my irons shots to make sure I could get close to the pin to get the birdies,” she said.

Full-field scores from the Marathon LPGA Classic

Hataoka made her 10th birdie on her 16th hole of the day and started thinking about becoming just the second LPGA player to shoot 59. But she finished par-par, two strokes off Annika Sorenstam’s mark, set in 2001.

“I wasn’t worrying about anything. I would stand on the tee; I would just swing it,” Sorenstam said after that historic round at the Standard Register Ping. Similarly, Hataoka “didn’t feel pressure … I guess I would say it was the zone, yes.”

It’s often difficult to follow up a career low round with another under-par score, but Hataoka isn’t worried about Friday, saying, “I think the best is just not think too hard and can just concentrate on just doing a good round.”