8/24/2018 6:29:31 AM

Teen spirit puts Hataoka in lead at Canadian Open

Teen spirit puts Hataoka in lead at Canadian Open

Regina, Canada: Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka produced a final-hole birdie to grab a share of the first round lead at the Canadian Women's Open on Thursday with a scintillating eight-under-par 64.

The 19-year-old prodigy joined a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard at Wascana Country Club in Regina after carding nine birdies and one bogey in a superb opening round.

Hataoka capped her strong start after nailing a birdie on her 18th hole to move alongside Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn and Colombia's Mariajo Uribe at eight under.

All three members of the leading group equalled the course record at Wascana.

World number two Ariya, who bagged the second major of her career with victory at the US Women's Open in June, drained nine birdies and only one bogey for her 64.

Uribe, ranked 173rd in the world, produced a flawless round with eight birdies and 10 pars.

Ariya made a dream start after teeing off on the 10th, reeling off four consecutive birdies to drop to four under early on.

She dropped a shot on her seventh hole of the day but then unleashed another birdie blitz on her inward nine, with five more birdies to finish on eight under.

The 22-year-old from Bangkok credited a relaxed approach for her low-scoring round.

"I feel I've been playing pretty good for the last few weeks and I didn't finish the way that I wanted," Ariya said.

"Today my goal is just like don't worry about the future too much. Don't think about what I'm going to shoot today. Just try to focus on things I can control."

Uribe meanwhile said she had been determined to exploit benign weather conditions which are expected to give way to strong winds in Friday's second round.

"I took advantage of that good weather we had this morning," Uribe said. "No wind; a little cold, but nothing crazy. 

"It's nice to get it done and actually take advantage of the great weather we had, because tomorrow seems like it's going to be windy."

Hataoka, Ariya and Uribe were one stroke clear of Angel Yin of the United States and Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who both shot 65.

Behind Yin and Madsen lurked a menacing chasing pack of seven players on six under, including Canadian youngster Brooke Henderson, former world number one Lydia Ko and Australia's Minjee Lee.

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