The eagle has landed! The winless streak by Japanese golfers on the JLPGA came to thrilling end as Mayu Hattori went from 12-under to 15-under on the final two holes with a birdie on 17 and an eagle on 18. Mayu was having an decent, although up and down, round until those two scoring holes vaulted her to a 4-under 68 round and 15-under overall 1 shot win. It was the first win since Chie Arimura won the Cyber Agent Ladies. Since then, 7 non-Japanese players, 6 of them South Korean, have won on the JLPGA. However, even had Mayu not ended her tournament with fireworks, there would have been a Japanese winner anyway.
Yesterday, even though Mayu was tied for the lead, I omitted her from my post about Sakura Yokomine and Chie Arimura being in contention to end the Japanese winless streak on the JLPGA. As I mentioned, Sakura and Chie are arguably the most popular full-time Japanese players on the JLPGA. And were it not for the eagle by Mayu on the 18th hole, Chie and Sakura would have been in a playoff to determine the winner as both finished in a tie for 2nd place at 14-under. Neither played poorly, but just didn’t put enough distance between themselves and the field on a course where everybody was scoring. Sakura went birdie-birdie on 17 and 18 en route to a 4-birdie 1 bogey 3-under 68. Chie had a bogey-free 4-under 68. However, she was unable to score after the 10th hole coming in. That was problematic as 17 and especially 18 were scoring holes. Mayu went eagle-birdie-eagle on the par 5 18th. She also birdied the 17th in the final round, as I mentioned at the beginning. Sakura birdied the 18th in all 3 rounds. She also birdied 17 in rounds 1 and 3. Chie eagled 18 in the 1st round and birdied 17 in the 2nd. But her inability to score on either hole in the final round might have cost her the win.