Japan's Nasa Hataoka wins LPGA Marathon Classic

Japan's Nasa Hataoka was declared the winner of the Marathon LPGA Classic after the LPGA Tour announced that unplayable weather conditions forced it to shorten it to a 54-hole event.

Sylvania: Nasa Hataoka, of Japan, holds the championship trophy after winning the Marathon Classic LPGA golf tournament at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio, Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Sylvania, Ohio. The fourth round was cut short due to rain and poor course conditions. AP/PTI(AP07_12_2021_000044A)   -  AP

Japan's Nasa Hataoka was declared the winner of the Marathon LPGA Classic after the LPGA Tour announced on Sunday that unplayable weather conditions forced it to shorten it to a 54-hole event.

Hataoka was 19-under 194 through three rounds (61-69-64) at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. She completed her third round six strokes ahead of two players in second place.

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The LPGA initially moved up Sunday's tee times with the weather forecast in mind. But play had to be suspended at 9:40 a.m. local time due to inclement weather.

Heavy rain kept players off the course for hours. Just after 3:30 p.m. local time, the LPGA media/communications department tweeted that the course was being evaluated while more rain fell.

 

Hataoka, 22, led wire-to-wire to claim her first win since the Kia Classic in March 2019 and the fourth LPGA Tour win of her career.

The US Women's Open runner-up fired a 10-under 61 on Thursday to jump out to a four-stroke lead, followed by rounds of 2 under and 7 under on Friday and Saturday. She finished the tournament with 24 birdies against five bogeys.

Elizabeth Szokol and Mina Harigae finished tied for second at 13 under. Germany's Esther Henseleit was fourth at 12 under, and Yuka Saso of the Philippines, Amy Yang of South Korea, Caroline Masson of Germany and Austin Ernst tied for fifth at 11 under.

Saso opts out of Evian Championship

Yuka Saso, the 20-year-old from the Philippines who won the U.S. Women's Open last month against Hataoka, pulled out of the LPGA Tour's next major, the Evian Championship.

Golfweek reported Sunday that the World No.8, who had originally committed to play in France in the fourth major of the season, has decided instead, to skip it.

A reason for Saso's withdrawal was not revealed, but the Evian is part of a grueling month-long stretch for the women's tour as it crams two majors (the Evian and the Women's Open at Carnoustie) plus the Tokyo Games in the span of a month, July 22 to Aug. 22.

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Danielle Kang (No. 5 in the world), Lexi Thompson (No. 9), Hataoka (No. 12), Australia's Hannah Green (No. 15) and Shanshan Feng (No. 20) of China have also opted not to play the Evian with the Olympics on the horizon.

Without Saso, six of the top 20 players in the world won't compete in France.

The field still includes No. 1 Nelly Korda, who won the LPGA's most recent major, the Women's PGA Championship; No. 2 Jin Young Ko, the defending Evian champion from 2019; and 2021 ANA Inspiration Champion Patty Tavatanakit (No.12) of Thailand, among other stars.

The Evian is scheduled for July 22-25. It was not contested in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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