It’s not too often the key shot of a tournament is struck with a pitching wedge from 30 yards, but that was the shot that propelled Nasa Hataoka to victory at the TOTO Japan Classic.
Though most will point to Hataoka’s magnificent shot from a fairway bunker to within a few feet on the 14th hole that led to a crucial birdie, Hataoka said it was the par save on the previous hole that kept her round going.
After hitting her tee shot into the left rough, Hataoka had 164 yards to the pin but hit a 7-iron that came up 28 yards short. That’s when Hataoka pulled her Srixon Z 745 pitching wedge and hit a nifty pitch that rolled to within three feet of the hole.
“I learned this type of approach after I started playing in U.S.,” Hataoka said. “I realized something had to come to me and I had to get through it, and I knew it was at the 13th hole. I was not totally comfortable with the shot, but I was calm enough to play well on that hole.”
What Nasa Hataoka had in the bag at the TOTO Japan Classic:
Ball: Srixon Z-Star
Driver: Srixon Z 765, 10.5 degrees
3-wood: Srixon Z F 65, 15 degrees
Hybrids: Srixon Z H 85 (19, 22 degrees)
Irons: (5-PW): Srixon Z 745
Wedges: Cleveland RTX 2.0 PF (50, 54, 58 degrees)
Putter: Ping Scottsdale TR Piper C