Haruka Kawasaki makes history as Konica Minolta Cup’s youngest winner

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Haruka Kawasaki - TheGolfingHub
Haruka Kawasaki upstaged more illustrious rivals after closing with a brilliant eight-under-par for a 16-under 272 total to win by three shots at the Joyo Country Club in Kyoto Prefecture on Sunday. Photo: Konica Minolta Cup

The Japan LPGA Championship Konica Minolta Cup ended last Sunday with 19-year-old rookie Haruka Kawasaki springing a big surprise by becoming the tournament’s youngest-ever champion.

The Kyoto-born lass upstaged her more illustrious rivals after closing with a brilliant eight-under-par for a 16-under 272 total to win by three shots from Miyuu Yamashita at the Joyo Country Club in Kyoto Prefecture.

Kawasaki rewrote the previous record for youngest winner held by then 20-year-old Ai Suzuki in 2014.

The successful staging of the Japan LPGA Championship Konica Minolta Cup for the 55th straight edition also marked how far the LPGA Tour of Japan (JLPGA Tour) has come since it was founded in 1967.

The JLPGA Tour has gone from strength to strength over the years and is now regarded as one of the most prominent women’s golf tours in the world.

The JLPGA Tour also holds the distinction of having the most number of events in a season for many years.

This season itself, the JLPGA Tour boasts a total of 38 events in its tournament calendar, six more than the US LPGA Tour.

But as far as the JLPGA is concerned, the Tour still has plenty of unfulfilled potential and believes it has what it takes to become as big as its US counterpart.

For that lofty ambition to be met, JLPGA knows more needs to be done to expand its global presence.

One of the key elements to positioning JLPGA Tour as a global tour, rather than domestic, is by increasing the participation of international players.

JLPGA said it has undertaken several reforms to further strengthen the Tour, both financially and prestige, to entice professionals outside Japan to ply their trade in Japan.