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Nomura, Oyama punch tickets for Rio Olympics

Kyodo

Harukyo Nomura and Shiho Oyama qualified for the women’s golf competition at the Rio Olympics as the two highest ranked Japanese players in the world rankings released on Monday. Nomura, 23, is ranked 22nd and Oyama 43rd.

Nomura finished 11th at the U.S. Women’s Open at 1-under 287, five strokes behind Brittany Lang, who edged Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist in a three-hole playoff.

Oyama, 39, missed the cut at the third major of the year, but still managed to receive the second ticket to the Games over Ayaka Watanabe, who fell from 20th to 38th at the tournament and is ranked No. 45.

The top 15 players in the world rankings are guaranteed a spot, with a limit of four players from a given country. Beyond the top-15, a maximum of two players will be eligible from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15 to a maximum number of 60 players.

Japan head coach Shigeki Maruyama looked forward to joining up with Nomura and Oyama.

“Nomura’s in form and I hope she keeps going,” Maruyama said. “Oyama might be the most insecure at the moment. She couldn’t leave a mark (at the Open) because she was hurt.”

Nomura, who has two wins this season, dropped three places on Sunday after starting the day in eighth, but posted her best major finish in an event where she missed the cut in her two previous appearances.

Nomura carded five birdies and six bogeys for a final-round 73 at the par-72 CordeValle. She carded three birdies and five bogeys before the turn.

“It was tough in the first half with the score going back and forth,” Nomura said.