Both in play and visually! The presence of the “Generation Z” in women’s golf
This year’s women’s golf season has entered its final stages.
While the title race has been fierce, the season has also produced a variety of dramas. Among them, many new heroines were born, including Sakiki Baba (17), who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Golf Championship for the first time in 37 years, and Haruka Kawasaki (19), who became the youngest player ever to win the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Championship, one of the four majors of the tournament. This year’s tournament was the first in the history of the event.
In this issue, we will introduce five notable members of the “Z Generation” under 20 years old, who are making remarkable progress. We hope you will take note of their growing presence on the top tours.
Aya OZEKI (19), who looks like a famous actress! Aamiyu OZEKI (19)
Rookie Ayamiyu OZEKI (Amiyu, 19) won the Sumitomo Life Insurance Ladies Tokai Classic, held September 16-18, for the first time on the first division tour. With three top-10 finishes this season, the rookie’s weapon of choice is the accuracy of her irons. Sportswriter Myung-Woo Kim explains.
He has a high accuracy of iron shot to put the second shot firmly on the green. She is also good at recovering from bunkers and has a 100% sand save rate. She also ranks first in sand save percentage on the lower tours.
Hinako Shibuno, 23, also from Sakuyo High School in Okayama Prefecture, also charmed the crowd with her smile at this year’s Ai Miyazato Suntory Ladies Open, where she finished in a tie for eighth place.
She is a very attractive young woman,” said Kohshiba, “and people are talking about her resemblance to actress Fuka Koshiba (25). When I asked her about it, she shyly replied, “I get that a lot these days. Even with that visual, she is a player to watch,” said Kim.
Haruka Kawasaki (19), a record-breaking major title winner
One player won a record-breaking Japan Women’s PGA Championship held in the second week of September. Haruka Kawasaki became the youngest player in history to win one of the four major championships for Japanese women at the age of 19 years and 133 days. It was also the first time for her to win the tournament in her 11th round as a professional. She also became the third youngest player in history to win a major tournament in Japan. A sports newspaper desk clerk said, “At 158 cm, she is not that big.
She is not that big at 158 cm, but her average distance of 247.62 yards at the Japan Women’s PGA Championship ranks seventh among all participants. She may look ineffectual, but her driver flies. In addition, she has the ability to manage the entire course, and she has the mentality to make birdies when the game is on the line.
Mr. Kim told us what happened after his accomplishment.
After the match, he had a victory party with his family at a nearby restaurant he has been going to since kindergarten, Rai Rai Tei. Kawazaki is said to be particularly fond of fried rice. I heard that he received about 300 congratulatory messages, and that he also received so many bouquets of flowers at his home in Kyoto that he couldn’t walk through the living room.
The younger sister of the “Iwai Twins” achieved a great record, Chirei Iwai (20)
In mid-August, Chirei Iwai (20) became only the third player in history since the Tour was established in 1988 to win two consecutive tournaments after her first victory. She and her twin sister, Meiai, passed the professional test last year, and they worked hard together to achieve this great record. The reason for their rapid progress is said to be an unexpected one.
She says, “My winning color is red, and I try to wear red pants when I am in contention for the title. He started this practice when he was a junior, and he has not changed it for a long time. Also, in order to keep his concentration, he often hums his favorite songs, such as the theme song from the TV drama “Dragon Cherry Blossom.
On the playing side, the stability of his putter shines through.
His putting is superb, and his average of 1.77 putts per hole this season ranks 12th among all players. Thanks to that, it is amazing that I can improve my score even on par 3 holes. Tour pros generally improve their scores on par 5s and endure par 3s. Iwai’s strength is that he can improve his score even on par 3s,” said a reporter for a golf magazine.
Aiming for first place with her natural athleticism! Shin-yui Sato (19)
Some players are eager to catch up with the title holders and overtake them. Miyu Sato (19), who is in the same class as Kawazaki, has two top-10 finishes and is very capable.
Her driver is her best weapon, and her average distance of 248.57 yards this season ranks ninth among all players. His high trajectory irons are also attractive, and he has a dynamic swing. In junior high school, he won the regional championship in the shot put. He also played soccer, and with his outstanding athleticism, he is aiming for the title.
37 Sakiki Baba (17) won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship for the first time in two years.
Last but not least is Sakiki Baba, 17, a rising star who became the first Japanese player in 37 years to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur Golf Championship in August. She started playing golf at the age of 5 under the influence of her father and quickly rose to prominence, regularly competing at the top of national tournaments.
He has a dynamic swing that is far and away the most effective because of his size,” said Baba. In addition, at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, she was recognized for her accuracy and perfection in every shot she made. Next year, I will be able to participate in many overseas major tournaments and will also receive an invitation from the Augusta Women’s Amateur. I am looking forward to seeing how they will compete.
In addition to the five players mentioned in this article, there are many other young and talented players. With only about two months remaining on the tour, what new heroines will emerge next?
Photo： Kyodo News