It was a record-breaking birth of a heroine at the Japan Women’s PGA Championship, the Konica Minolta Cup, one of the four major championships in Japan, held from September 8 to 11. Haruka Kawasaki, still in her teens, won the tournament at the age of 19 years and 133 days, setting a new record for the youngest player to win this event. She also became the first player in the tournament’s history to win in only her 11th tournament since turning pro last year. Sportswriter Kim Myung-woo, who covered the event on-site, looks back on the event.
To be honest, until the last day of the tournament, there was little interest in the tournament. The atmosphere changed on the 14th hole, when he made three consecutive birdies to move into a tie for the lead. I was surprised at how strong his heart was when he made another birdie on the 15th in spite of the crowd that was starting to get a little tense. On the final hole, I was two shots clear of second place and could have won the tournament even with par. Even so, he sank the 8-meter birdie putt. Normally, it would not have been surprising if he would have placed it safely. The aggressive attitude that he followed through was magnificent.
The first thing he said at the press conference after his victory was that he was grateful to his parents for their support.
His father is the one who led Mr. Kawasaki into the world of golf with his best score of 71. He is the type of person who usually doesn’t meddle, but when he is in trouble, he always offers a helping hand. When Mr. Kawasaki failed to qualify for the next round, he introduced him to an acquaintance at a company that deals with swing correction equipment. His mother is a skilled instructor of medicinal cooking, and she mainly supports him in the area of diet. After the competition, Mr. Kawazaki said with a smile, “I can’t wait to drink my mother’s miso soup.
Behind his rapid progress is his family.
From the September 30 and October 7, 2022 issues of FRIDAY
Photo： Sankei Shimbun (Kawazaki) SpoNichi/Afro (2nd photo)