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Hataoka wins Kia Classic for third LPGA victory

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CARLSBAD, Calif. – Nasa Hataoka won the Kia Classic on Sunday at Aviara Golf Club for her third victory in her last 16 LPGA starts.

The 20-year-old closed with a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke victory over playing partner Inbee Park, top-ranked Sung Hyun Park, Jin Young Ko, Azahara Munoz and Danielle Kang.

Hataoka, the 20-year-old who won two LPGA titles last season, shot a 64 on Saturday to pull within a stroke of Inbee Park entering the final round in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week.

Full-field scores from Kia Classic

Hataoka finished at 18-under 270. She won the NW Arkansas Championship and Japan Classic last year.

Winless in 12 months, Inbee Park had a 71 to miss a chance for her 20th LPGA Tour victory. Sung Hyun Park also shot 71. Ko and Kang had 65s, and Munoz had a 68. Ko won the Founders Cup last week in Phoenix.

Hyo Joo Kim matched the course record with a 62 to tie for seventh at 14 under.