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Minjee Lee wins Volvik title on birthday; Nasa Hataoka finishes six shots behind

Kyodo, AP

Nasa Hataoka finished in 10th place after carding a 3-under-par 69 in Sunday’s final round of the LPGA Volvik Championship, won by Australia’s Minjee Lee.

Hataoka, who entered the day in 15th, shot five birdies and two bogeys at Travis Pointe Country Club and finished in a seven-way tie with a 10-under 278 total, six shots behind Lee, who earned a one-stroke victory on her 22nd birthday.

The 19-year-old Hataoka, aiming for her first LPGA Tour victory, had a one-shot lead after Friday’s second round but dropped five back with five bogeys and three birdies on Saturday.

“I’m frustrated about my last two rounds, but I’m glad I was able to complete my final day in the 60s,” Hataoka said. “I really wanted to play well from the beginning. I’m glad I was able to pick up my game on the back nine (with four birdies).”

Hataoka posted her LPGA Tour career-best second-place finish at the Kingsmill Championship earlier this month. She will play in the U.S. Women’s Open kicking off on Thursday, the second of the five women’s majors.

Sakura Yokomine finished 24th at a 7-under 281, and compatriot Ayako Uehara was 32nd with a 282.

Lee reached No. 18, a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round, needing a birdie to win the tournament.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

“I almost clipped the tree,” Lee said. “I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.”

Lee’s shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over Kim In-kyung.

Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian’s fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.

“The tee was up,” she said. “I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.”

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