Ayako Okamoto

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ayako Okamoto
岡本 綾子
— Golfer —
Personal information
Born (1951-04-02) 2 April 1951 (age 63)
Akitsu, Hiroshima
Height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Nationality  Japan
Career
Turned professional 1975
Former tour(s) LPGA of Japan Tour (1975-2005)
LPGA Tour (1981-1995)
Professional wins 62
Number of wins by tour
LPGA Tour 17
Ladies European Tour 1
LPGA of Japan Tour 44
Best results in LPGA major championships
ANA Inspiration T5: 1987
LPGA Championship 2nd/T2: 1989, 1991
U.S. Women's Open T2: 1987
du Maurier Classic 2nd: 1984, 1986, 1987
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2005 (member page)
LPGA of Japan Tour
leading money winner
1981
LPGA Tour
leading money winner
1987
LPGA Tour
Player of the Year
1987

Ayako Okamoto (岡本 綾子 Okamoto Ayako?, born 2 April 1951) is a Japanese professional golfer. She won 62 tournaments internationally, including 17 on the U.S.-based LPGA Tour. She is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Early career[edit]

Okamoto was born in Akitsu, Hiroshima, now part of Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan. In her youth and early 20s she was a softball player. She was the star pitcher on the Japanese national champion in 1971. Her club team was owned by the textile company Daiwabo, where Okamoto worked. The company owned a golf facility next door, and when she was 22, Okamoto finally decided to start playing. Although she pitched left-handed, she learned golf right-handed. She would join the LPGA of Japan Tour in 1973. Just three years later, at age 25, she won the Mizuno Corporation Tournament. In 1979 (at age 28) Okamoto won the Japan LPGA Championship, and in 1981 she won eight times in Japan and topped the LPGA of Japan money list.

LPGA career[edit]

Okamoto was a superstar in Japan, but she decided to branch out and joined the American LPGA Tour in 1981. From 1982 through 1992, Okamoto won 17 times, her first coming at the 1982 Arizona Copper Classic. Okamoto was a consistent winner on the LPGA Tour, claiming four wins in 1987 (plus four runner-ups and 17 top-10s) and three wins each in 1984 and 1988. In 1987, she led the tour's money list and earned the LPGA Tour Player of the Year award, the first non-American to do either.

The only thing Okamoto did not do in the United States was win a major. She finished as runner-up six times in major championships. Her best opportunities came in 1986, when she lost a sudden death playoff to Pat Bradley at the du Maurier Classic and in 1987 when she lost an 18-hole playoff to Laura Davies for the U.S. Women's Open crown (JoAnne Carner was also in the playoff). She was in the top-10 at the Open every year from 1983 to 1987, and in the top-10 at the LPGA Championship every year from 1984 to 1991.

Okamoto's last LPGA victory was in 1992, and 1993 was her last year to play a full or half schedule in the U.S. Okamoto returned to Japan after 1993, where she played until 2005. In addition to her 17 LPGA wins, Okamoto also won 44 times on the LPGA of Japan Tour, and once on the Ladies European Tour. She was voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on the International ballot and entered in 2005.

Professional wins (62)[edit]

LPGA Tour (17)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 28 Feb 1982 Arizona Copper Classic −7 (70-72-70-69=281) Playoff South Africa Sally Little
2 26 Jun 1983 Rochester International −6 (68-71-67-76=282) Playoff United States Donna White, United States Kathy Whitworth
3 15 Apr 1984 J&B Scotch Pro-Am −14 (70-67-71-67=275) 5 strokes United States Donna White
4 17 Jun 1984 Mayflower Classic −7 (73-67-71-70=281) 2 strokes United States Judy Dickinson, United States Donna White
5 6 Oct 1984 Hitachi Ladies British Open −3 (71-71-70-77=289) 11 strokes United States Betsy King, Scotland Dale Reid
6 2 Feb 1986 Elizabeth Arden Classic −8 (69-67-73-71=280) 1 stroke United States Muffin Spencer-Devlin
7 7 Sep 1986 Cellular One-Ping Golf Championship −9 (70-71-66=207) 6 strokes United States Nancy Lopez, United States Colleen Walker
8 12 Apr 1987 Kyocera Inamori Golf Classic −13 (66-70-69-70=275) 1 stroke United States Betsy King
9 17 May 1987 Chrysler-Plymouth Classic −4 (70-74-71=215) 2 strokes United States Jane Geddes, United States Colleen Walker
10 21 Jun 1987 Lady Keystone Open −8 (70-74-64=208) 1 stroke United States Laurie Rinker
11 30 Aug 1987 Nestle World Championship −6 (70-68-73-71=282) 1 stroke United States Betsy King
12 27 Feb 1988 Orient Leasing Hawaiian Ladies Open −3 (69-72-72=213) 1 stroke United States JoAnne Carner, United States Deb Richard
13 10 Apr 1988 San Diego Inamori Golf Classic −12 (69-71-63-69=272) 1 stroke United States Colleen Walker
14 31 Jul 1988 Greater Washington Open −7 (69-70-67=206) 1 stroke United States Connie Chillemi, United States Beth Daniel
15 28 May 1989 LPGA Corning Classic −12 (69-66-67-70=272) 6 strokes United States Beth Daniel
16 6 May 1990 Sara Lee Classic −6 (71-71-68=210) 1 stroke United States Pat Bradley, United States JoAnne Carner,
Canada Dawn Coe, United States Betsy King,
United States Colleen Walker
17 7 Jun 1992 McDonald's Championship −8 (67-69-69=205) 3 strokes United States Pat Bradley, United States Brandie Burton,
United States Deb Richard

Note: Okamoto won the Hitachi Ladies British Open (now known as the Women's British Open) before it became a major championship.

LPGA Tour playoff record (2–4)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1982 Arizona Copper Classic South Africa Sally Little Won with birdie on second extra hole
2 1983 Rochester International United States Donna White, United States Kathy Whitworth Won with birdie on third extra hole
3 1986 du Maurier Classic United States Pat Bradley Lost to birdie on first extra hole
4 1986 Konica San Jose Classic United States Amy Alcott, United States Betsy King,
United States Patty Sheehan
Sheehan won with birdie on first extra hole
5 1987 U.S. Women's Open United States JoAnne Carner, England Laura Davies Lost 18-hole playoff (Davies:71, Okamoto:73, Carner:74)
6 1989 Rochester International United States Patty Sheehan Lost to par on first extra hole

LPGA majors are shown in bold.

LPGA of Japan Tour (44)[edit]

Tournament in bold denotes major championships on LPGA of Japan Tour.

Ladies European Tour (1)[edit]

Results in LPGA Majors[edit]

Tournament 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
Kraft Nabisco Championship ... T40 T64 T34 WD T5 T35 CUT T6 T6
LPGA Championship DNP T44 T7 T5 T3 T3 T3 2 T9 T2
U.S. Women's Open T38 T8 T8 T8 T3 T2 T12 T11 T32 T15
du Maurier Classic DNP T10 2 T69 2 2 T13 T24 T31 DNP
Tournament 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Kraft Nabisco Championship T12 79 T19 T37 T48 64 DNP CUT T67
LPGA Championship T15 T37 T28 CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Women's Open CUT T7 T49 T21 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
du Maurier Classic DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

DNP = did not play.
CUT = missed the half-way cut.
"T" = tied
WD = withdrew
Yellow background for a top-10 finish.

Summary[edit]

  • Starts – 53
  • Wins – 0
  • 2nd place finishes – 6
  • 3rd place finishes – 4
  • Top 3 finishes – 10
  • Top 5 finishes – 12
  • Top 10 finishes – 21
  • Top 25 finishes – 30
  • Missed cuts – 4
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 24
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 7

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Hiromitsu Ochiai
Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize Winner
1987
Succeeded by
Chiyonofuji Mitsugu