Winner of four majors at the age of 19! Her mentor saw the true face of the “rising star of women’s golf”.
I couldn’t believe it,” said Kawazaki, “I couldn’t really feel it. I couldn’t believe it, and I didn’t really feel it until the awards ceremony.
Haruka Kawasaki, 19, a professional women’s golfer, was holding the cup in her hand as she spoke. On September 11, the final day of the Japan Women’s PGA Championship, the Konica Minolta Cup, one of Japan’s four major women’s golf tournaments with prize money exceeding 100 million, a rookie who just passed the professional test last year made a major breakthrough. The 19 year old started the day in 4th place, 4 shots behind the leader, Mimu Yamashita (21), and made a huge comeback with 4 consecutive birdies from the 12th hole, starting with an eagle on the 8th hole. At the age of 19, he became the youngest player ever to win the tournament at 133 days.
A top contender since her amateur days, she finished second nationally in the Japan Junior Golf Championship competition in 2018. He then went on to Osaka Gakuin University High School, where he won the National High School Golf Championship Spring Tournament in 2020.
She looks quiet, but she has a strong core. He has a solid style of play, and when the moment is right, he goes on the attack. He was a player who could produce results when he had to score.
Kawazaki’s style of play was described by his former high school teacher and golf club advisor, Takaaki Tomishuku. Tomishuku went on to mention one unforgettable match from his high school days.
In the summer of my junior year of high school, I played in a team competition, and while the other members were not scoring as well as they would have liked, Kawazaki fought hard and eventually placed seventh in the national tournament. I think it was thanks to her that we were able to make it to the top. She is not the type to take a strong leadership role, but she is a strong girl. Before you know it, everyone is pulling for her.
On the other hand, when she is away from the competition, she can be seen as an ordinary high school girl.
When she is not playing golf, she is a normal girl who enjoys hanging out with her classmates. I also liked sweets and ate them often. I often saw her chewing on gummy bears with her friends.
Tomishuku says that in addition to teaching her technique, he also taught her manners and etiquette. Thanks to Tomishuku’s efforts, Kawazaki has grown both as a player and as a person, and last November he passed the professional test with flying colors. However, his transition to the pro ranks has not been a smooth one. He was plagued by back pain, a chronic illness. Mr. Tomishuku continues.
He had a period of time when he was in high school when he suffered from back pain, and he had to experiment with his swing. It seemed to be especially painful during the winter, and the winter of my sophomore year was a time when I suffered from a lack of scores. Even in such a situation, you were not discouraged and continued to face the game of golf.
On the day of the tournament, I was at the venue, but I was concentrating on my play, not really thinking about the score or winning. It would be natural for her to be nervous or upset with that many people in the audience, but I did not see any of that at all, and once again I thought she was an amazing player. I think her true strength came out in this match. I think her back pain is getting better now that she has become a professional player and has received guidance from various people to take care of her body.
In the Mercedes ranking updated on the 12th of this month, she passed 78 players and jumped up to 36th place. If he can maintain his top 50 ranking, he will be seeded for next year and will be able to compete in more tournaments. After the match, Kawasaki spoke of his aspirations for the future as follows.
In the spring, I was suffering from back pain and was playing golf as if I was running away from the game. I healed my body and changed my golf style to one of aggressive golf without being scared, as I was when I was an amateur. I will continue to work hard in each of the tournaments I am able to play in, and I hope to become a professional who is looked up to and supported by others.
We can’t take our eyes off this new heroine’s rapid progress in the future.
Photo： Kyodo News