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Nasa Hataoka declared winner as Marathon LPGA Classic reduced to 54 holes

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The Marathon LPGA Classic was reduced to a 54-hole tournament after poor weather conditions made the course unplayable. Nasa Hataoka led the tournament by six shots going into the final round in Sylvania, Ohio. She hit two shots on Sunday before players were removed from the course.

LPGA senior manager of rules and competition Donna Mummert explained why the tournament was reduced to 54 holes, despite all players having tee off in the final round. 

“We were able to start on time and played through the rain,” she said, “but at 9:40 [a.m. ET] we started losing the greens and the rain just continued.”

Full-field scores from the Marathon LPGA Classic

“Knowing that everybody is working really, really hard to try to get this to a 72-hole tournament, it's – I wish it would've been able to do it, but with this weather it was really hard,” said Hataoka, who sat through a seven-hour delay before her victory was decided.

Mina Harigae and Elizabeth Szokol tied for second place.

The LPGA said in a Tweet that, “Finishing the tournament tomorrow is not an option due to an unfavorable forecast.” The upcoming event, the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Michigan, begins on Wednesday.

Hataoka claimed her fourth LPGA Tour title and her first since 2019. She lost in a playoff to Yuka Saso in the U.S. Women’s Open last month. Ever since that playoff defeat, Hataoka has used an Olympic Club ball marker as motivation for her next victory. “I'm using it to remind myself that I'm not going to go through that kind of situation and I'm just going to keep going,” she said. “Every time I look at it it reminds me to just keep going and go for a win. That's what I use it for.”

The 22-year-old Japanese player will play in the Dow team event, but skip the Evian Championship to prepare for the Olympics in her home country – her next dream. 

“I'm really, really going to work hard to represent all the Japanese golfers that couldn't make it to the tournament and go for the gold,” she said.