2 April 1951 |
|Height||5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)|
|Former tour(s)||LPGA of Japan Tour (1975-2005)
LPGA Tour (1981-1995)
|Number of wins by tour|
|Ladies European Tour||2|
|LPGA of Japan Tour||44|
|Best results in LPGA major championships
|ANA Inspiration||T5: 1987|
|Women's PGA C'ship||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
leading money winner
Player of the Year
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.
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.
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 runners-up 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 twice 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)
LPGA Tour wins (17)
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)
|1||1982||Arizona Copper Classic||Sally Little||Won with birdie on second extra hole|
|2||1983||Rochester International|| Donna White
|Won with birdie on third extra hole|
|3||1986||du Maurier Classic||Pat Bradley||Lost to birdie on first extra hole|
|4||1986||Konica San Jose Classic|| Amy Alcott
|Sheehan won with birdie on first extra hole|
|5||1987||U.S. Women's Open|| JoAnne Carner
|Lost 18-hole playoff (Davies:71, Okamoto:73, Carner:74)|
|6||1989||Rochester International||Patty Sheehan||Lost to par on first extra hole|
LPGA majors are shown in bold.
LPGA of Japan Tour wins (44)
- 1975 (1) Mizuno Corporation Tournament
- 1976 (1) All-Star
- 1977 (4) World Ladies Golf Tournament, Tohoku Queens, Asahi Toys, Japan Ladies Professional East vs. West
- 1978 (1) KTV Ladies Classic
- 1979 (2) Japan LPGA Championship, Tokai Classic
- 1980 (3) Kumamoto Chuo Ladies, Hokuriku Queens, Saikai National Park Ladies Open
- 1981 (8) Sanin Ladies Golf, KBS Ladies, Fuji Ladies Classic, Hokuriku Queens, Stanley Ladies, Japan Ladies Professional East vs West, Miyagi TV Women's Open, Sanyo Queens
- 1982 (4) Tohato Ladies, Dunlop Ladies, Japan LPGA Championship, Tokai Classic
- 1983 (1) Sanyo Queens
- 1984 (1) Tsumura Itsuki Classic
- 1986 (1) Nichirei Ladies Cup
- 1987 (1) Konica Cup
- 1989 (2) Tokai Classic, Itoki Classic
- 1990 (1) Japan LPGA Championship
- 1991 (3) Yamaha Cup Ladies, Karuizawa 72 Tokyu Ladies Open, Kosaido Asahi Cup
- 1992 (2) Tohato Ladies, Fujisankei Ladies Classic
- 1993 (2) Japan Women's Open Golf Championship, Itoen Ladies
- 1994 (3) Tohato Ladies, Itoki Classic, Kosaido Asahi Cup
- 1996 (1) Fujisankei Ladies Classic
- 1997 (1) Japan Women's Open Golf Championship
- 1999 (1) Katokichi Queens
Tournament in bold denotes major championships on LPGA of Japan Tour.
Ladies European Tour wins (2)
- 1984 (1) Hitachi Ladies British Open (co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour)
- 1990 (1) Lufthansa Ladies' German Open
Results in LPGA Majors
|Kraft Nabisco Championship||...||T40||T64||T34||WD||T5||T35||CUT||T6||T6|
|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|
|Kraft Nabisco Championship||T12||79||T19||T37||T48||64||DNP||CUT||T67|
|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.
- 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
- Official website (in Japanese)
- Ayako Okamoto at the LPGA Tour official site
- Ayako Okamoto at the LPGA of Japan Tour official site (in Japanese)
- Ayako Okamoto bio at about.com
|Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize Winner