LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Eastern golfing lovers would really like to look a contention between Nasa Hataoka and Hinako Shibuno push them each to the medal degree with the Olympics in Tokyo later this 12 months.

Hataoka greater than senses that.

She hears it.

“This offseason, the entire Eastern media was once asking me in regards to the Olympics, about Shibuno, evaluating us,” Hataoka stated thru a translator. “It provides some rigidity.”

Hataoka, 20, is relishing a possibility to compete for the gold medal in her fatherland.

“I watched the Olympic golfing in Rio in 2016, and it made me in reality need to play,” stated Hataoka, whose 2-under-par 69 Friday left her simply two photographs off the lead on the Diamond Inns Match of Champions. “That is the 12 months, and so that you could do it in Tokyo, can be particular.”

Complete-field ratings from the Diamond Inns Match of Champions

Hataoka stepped up as inheritor to the retiring Ai Miyazato, the darling of Eastern girls’s golfing. Hataoka was once a 17-year-old newbie when she received the Eastern Girls’s Open, turning into the youngest winner within the championship’s historical past. She struggled as a rookie in 2017, after coming to the US to earn her LPGA excursion card at Q-College, however she discovered her stride in her 2nd season.  She received a couple of LPGA titles in 2018, together with the Toto Vintage in her fatherland, and he or she just about received the KPMG Girls’s PGA Championship, dropping in a playoff. She received the Kia Vintage final 12 months and 2 JLPGA majors.

That run helped propel Hataoka to her present No. 6 status on this week’s Rolex Girls’s Global Ratings.

Closing summer time, every other younger famous person emerged to problem as Miyazato’s inheritor.

Shibuno charmed the golfing global successful the AIG Girls’s British Open as a 20-year-old in her first LPGA primary, becoming a member of Hisako Higuchi as the one Eastern avid gamers to win a big. Shibuno is now No. 11 on the earth ratings, however she isn’t taking part in this week. She isn’t an LPGA member.

“My objective is to compete within the Olympics in Tokyo,” Shibuno informed newshounds upon returning to a hero’s welcome at Hanedo Airport after successful the Girls’s British Open.

Hataoka and Shibuno had been the entire buzz in Eastern girls’s golfing and the early buildup to Tokyo. They’d sign up for Ai Suzuki representing Japan if the Olympics have been staged this week. Suzuki is No. 13 within the Olympic Girls’s Golfing Ratings. Qualifying, alternatively, continues till June 29. The highest two avid gamers from a rustic earn spots within the Olympics, inside a restrict of 60 overall qualifiers from world wide. Then again, as much as 4 avid gamers from a rustic can qualify if they’re each and every inside the most sensible 15 within the Olympic ratings.

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