Kia Classic: Nasa Hataoka wins with three shots for third LPGA title

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Nasa Hataoka won the NW Arkansas Championship and the Japan Classic in 2018Kia Classic: Final leaderboard-18 N Hataoka (Jpn); -15 D Kang (USA), S-H Park (Kor), I-B Park (Kor), A Munoz (Spa), J Ko (Kor); -14 M Hur (Kor), G Lopez (Mex), T Suwannapura (Tha), C Choi (Kor), H Kim (Kor) Other selected: -7 J Ewart (Eng), -3 B Law (Eng), -2 M Reid (Eng), -1 S Meadow (NI), +4 C Thomas (Eng) Full leaderboard

Nasa Hataoka from Japan won the Kia Classic with three strokes to close her third LPGA title.

Hataoka, 20, played six birdies in a five-under-par 67 on Sunday to finish at 18 under in California.

She dragged South Korean Park In-bee with a shot in the final round, but the former number one in the world closed with a one-under-71 to tie for the second.

World number one Park Sung-hyun, Ko Jin-young, Danielle Kang and Azahara Munoz also ended in 15 under.

Hataoka was five under for the day when she found the water on the 16th hole, reducing her lead to two strokes, but she birdied the 17th before ending with a par.

The first few days I wasn't doing so well, so I didn't really think I was c. I would deduct this, "Hataoka said.

"Anything could happen until the 18th hole – but I was just very relieved that my second shot hit the pit surface."

The world number five is the sixth different winner in so many LPGA tournaments this season – this happened the third consecutive year.

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