Toronto Star ePaper

Hataoka, Yang lead in battle for $2M prize

With a $2-million (U.S.) cheque on the line and the tournament scoring record well within reach, Nasa Hataoka and Amy Yang shared the lead heading into the final round of the seasonending LPGA Tour Championship.

Yang carded four birdies in her final six holes for an 8-under-par 64 on Saturday, after Hataoka set the early pace with five birdies through 11 holes on the way to a 65. They were at 21-under 195, within two strokes of the mark set two years ago by Jin Young Ko.

The Tiburon course got four inches of rain on the eve of the tournament and has yet to dry out and provide much of a test. The fairways are generous, the greens soft and smooth.

Alison Lee was closest to the leaders, three shots back after a thirdround 68.

Canadian Brooke Henderson shot 66, but was seven strokes off the pace in a group that included world No. 1 Lilia Vu and Nelly Korda, who recorded her first LPGA Tour holein-one on the par-3 eighth.

“It’s going to take a really low one to catch the leaders,” said Korda.

First prize is equal to the payout for winning the U.S. Women’s Open. Only six women’s golfers have earned $2 million all season.

Yang has four career LPGA victories, but none in the United States, while Hataoka has won six times.

Vu all but clinched the pointsbased LPGA player of the year award. She would have to finish at least eighth to secure the title if Céline Boutier wins, but Boutier faded and was tied for 35th.





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