• Kyodo


Nasa Hataoka got off to a solid start with a 3-under 69 Thursday, trailing first-round leader Park Sung-hyun of South Korea by three shots at the Women’s PGA Championship, the third of five majors on the LPGA Tour.

Four days after winning her maiden LPGA title at the NW Arkansas Championship, Hataoka shot six birdies against three bogeys, finishing in a five-way tie for 10th place at Kemper Lakes Golf Club.

Park, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, recorded a bogey-free 66 to take a one-stroke lead over four golfers, including 2016 tournament winner Brooke Henderson of Canada.

Last Sunday, Hataoka won the 54-hole NW Arkansas Championship with a tournament record 21-under-par 192 and became the youngest player to win this season at the age of 19.

Hataoka opened Thursday’s round with a strong front nine, sinking two birdies in a row from No. 10, but had trouble after the turn.

On the par-5 fourth hole, she missed a par putt after coming up short of the green, and in the fifth she hit into the rough for back-to-back bogeys.

“At least I was able to achieve my goal (of shooting 3-under), but I could’ve done better,” Hataoka said.

“I’m frustrated, especially about the back-to-back bogeys in the back nine. But closing out in the 60s is good. I think being three strokes off the lead isn’t a bad start to a major tournament.”

Ayako Uehara carded an even-par 72, Sakura Yokomine shot a 73, and Harukyo Nomura had a first-round 75.

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