Pro takes FaceTime swing lesson, wins LPGA title by 5 shots days later

Nasa Hataoka had a masterful performance in the LA Open.

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Nasa Hataoka’s game was far and away better than every other player who teed it up in last week’s LA Open.

Her five-shot margin of victory was impressive on the surface, and the stats also show a player in total control of her game. She missed just nine fairways for the week. She hit 55 of 72 greens, good for a tidy 76 percent. And she averaged 28 putts per round.

Not a bad week at the office.

All told, Hataoka finished the week 15 under, earning the 23-year-old her sixth LPGA victory.

“I would like to keep counting more and more [wins],” she told the press Sunday evening.

If she keeps hitting it like she did at Wilshire CC, more victories are surely on the horizon.

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After a missed cut in Hawaii the week prior, Hataoka arrived in LA knowing she needed to make a change. Although her game has been in fine shape in 2022, the missed cut was concerning. Something was off, and she needed a fix.

She arrived in LA early to prep for the week and got right to work. But with her coach based in Japan, she didn’t have the luxury of a watchful eye monitoring her every swing. So she turned to technology. Specifically, an app housed on her phone.

“I did some lesson with my coach in Japan, video chat,” she said. More specifically, FaceTime. “It about hour and a half. He mentioned about the ball position on my stance, and that kind of helped me a lot.”

Sometimes the simple fixes are the ones that help the most. Ball position is a rudimentary fundamental, but when it gets out of wack, it can have disastrous effects — even for the pros.

“I didn’t play good last week, [and] I knew I had to make a change,” Hataoka said. “So it wasn’t really hard to try something new for me, to be honest. So because of that, I think I was able to concentrate more this week.”

The main change, she explained, was her ball position on middle irons. Her ball position had drifted right and away from her body, and it didn’t allow her to generate the contact she needed.

“That really helped me this week,” she said.

The changes paid off. A week later, Hataoka has another victory under her belt, and an additional $225,000 in the bank.

And it all came courtesy of a FaceTime call across the Pacific.

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Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.