Almanac Golf – Golf Capital: Hataoka’s breakthrough ahead of PGA, Bubba gets third 2018 win

@hamishneal

 

It’s a triple treat at the head of the men’s tours with wins for Matt Wallace and Bubba Watson in Germany and the USA respectively whilst Japanese teen Nasa Hataoka won in Arkansas to claim her first LPGA Tour victory. With the Women’s PGA Championship on in Illinois it’s a big week in golf.

 

Opening Drive

 

Two-time Masters champion, and column pick, Bubba Watson won for the third time in 2018 on the PGA Tour as he secured a victory in the Travelers Championship. Watson’s final round seven under 63 saw him claw back the six-shot deficit her had sitting in a tie for sixth coming into the final round at TPC River Highlands.

 

Overnight leader Paul Casey’s four-shot lead became five early in his final round before he eventually shot two over 72 finishing up in a tie for second with Stewart Cink, JB Holmes and Beau Hossler.

 

A crowded leaderboard in Germany has finished with Matt Wallace picking up his third European Tour crown with victory in the BMW Championship in Pulheim. 20 players were within three shots of the lead on Saturday night and Wallace’s triumph came courtesy of a final round 65 but he had plenty to chase after Thorbjorn Olesen shot an 11 under 61 early in the day. Having been seven shots off the lead at Golf Club Gut Laerchenhof Olesen’s run nearly saw the Dane claim his sixth European Tour victory before he finished in a tie for second with German Martin Kaymer and Finn Mikko Korhonen.

 

19-year-old Nasa Hataoka triumphed comprehensively by six strokes to claim her first LPGA title in stunning fashion in Rogers, Arkansas winning the LPGA Arkansas Championship. Hataoka was co-leader before the final round of the 54-hole event at Pinnacle Country Club but scooted clear with an eight-under 63 to finish at 21 under with American Austin Ernst back in second on 15 under.

 

Player Performance Notes

 

Kildeer, Illinois hosts the third women’s major of the year with the Women’s PGA Championships at Kemper Lakes Golf Club. Three-winner Inbee Park, 2016 champion Brooke Henderson and 2017 victor Danielle Kang all feature here.

 

Under 20: Ariya Jutanugarn. The Women’s US Open winner leads a stack of categories this season including putting on the LPGA and coupled with her prodigious long hitting she’ll look to claim her third career major. Such is the Thai golfer’s form she is on pace to become the first USD3 million earner in a single LPGA season (in addition to her two wins this year she has eight top ten finishes.)

 

20 to 50: Nasa Hataoka. Last week’s winner Hataoka wasn’t a shock win despite her age. Four of her previous five starts before the win in Arkansas resulted in top ten or better finishes. The youngest ever winner of the Japan Women’s Open is clearly a talent on the rise and four of the last six women’s major winners were first-time LPGA major victors.

 

20 to 50: Brooke Henderson. The Canadian only fell narrowly short of going back-to-back last year and this will be her second full attempt to win a major this year after withdrawing from the Open due to her grandfather’s death. She won in April and has four other top ten finishes this year.

 

50 to 100: Danielle Kang. The defending champion from Olympia Fields in Illinois was fourth at the US Women’s Open recently and has a handful of top ten finished since the victory last year so has been thereabouts.

 

Greens in regulation
This week the European Tour resumes the Rolex Series with the Open de France taking on special significance as Le Golf National is the Ryder Cup venue later this year. American Justin Thomas is among the first-timers at the Paris venue ahead of the September showpiece which was won last year by England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

 

In America the US PGA Tour sees the Quicken Loans National, won last year by Kyle Stanley, take place at TPC Potomac in Avenel Farm, Maryland. Tiger Woods features in this event which is linked to his foundation.

 

Tap in

 

Two-time major winner Jiyai Shin has made an incredibly generous donation to grow golf in Australia after her win at the Canberra Classic in February. In late May Shin, whose win marked her 50th professional triumph in winning the co-sanctioned Ladies European Tour event, donated the $22,500 winner’s purse to the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Next Generation program which will help fund future editions of their Rookie Camp. The 30-year-old, who has since won again on the LPGA tour of Japan, has amassed in excess of USD6 million on the LPGA alone in her career so it is not as if the former world number one would need the cash but it’s a great gesture nonetheless from the South Korean.

 

This golfing wrap first appeared on From the sideline of sport

 

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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