Ayako Okamoto

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Ayako Okamoto
岡本 綾子
Personal information
Born (1951-04-02) 2 April 1951 (age 72)
Akitsu, Hiroshima
Height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Sporting nationality Japan
Turned professional1975
Former tour(s)LPGA of Japan Tour (1975-2005)
LPGA Tour (1981-1995)
Professional wins62
Number of wins by tour
LPGA Tour17
Ladies European Tour2
LPGA of Japan Tour44
Best results in LPGA major championships
Chevron ChampionshipT5: 1987
Women's PGA C'ship2nd/T2: 1989, 1991
U.S. Women's OpenT2: 1987
du Maurier Classic2nd: 1984, 1986, 1987
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame2005 (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.

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 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)[edit]

LPGA Tour wins (17)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
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 wins (44)[edit]

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

Ladies European Tour wins (2)[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 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 T10 2 T69 2 2 T13 T24 T31
Tournament 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Kraft Nabisco Championship T12 79 T19 T37 T48 64 CUT T67
LPGA Championship T15 T37 T28 CUT
U.S. Women's Open CUT T7 T49 T21
du Maurier Classic
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut.
WD = withdrew
"T" = tied


  • Starts – 52
  • 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]