Japan's Nasa Hataoka is quickly rising up the Rolex Rankings, and she just won for the third time on the LPGA Tour with a victory in the 2019 Kia Classic.
The 20-year-old is now third in the world as she prepares for the LPGA's first of five majors this year, the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
For some golf fans, they may not be familiar with the name Nasa -- even those fans who have an awareness of or affinity for Japanese culture. And that's for good reason. Nasa Hataoka's first name isn't a Japanese name. It's an English name, sort of.
Hataoka's mom named Nasa after NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. That's right, Nasa is named after the U.S. space agency.
As revealed on Golf Channel's broadcast of the Kia Classic, Nasa's mom wanted to name her that to inspire her to chase the stars and go after her dreams. Now that Hataoka has planted a flag firmly in the ground on the way to the summit of women's professional golf, it seems like the name is more than fitting.