Hataoka had a 12-under 130 total at Highland Meadows. She played the first nine in 1 over with two birdies and three bogeys and dropped another shot on 13 before rallying with the late birdie burst.
“I was kind of stiff on impact and I was able to realize that and adjusted to relax myself and that brought those birdies,” Hataoka said.
The three-time LPGA Tour winner lost a playoff to Yuka Saso a month ago in the U.S. Women’s Open at Olympic Club. She took last week off after tying for 29th in Michigan and missing the cut in the KMPG Women’s PGA.
The 31-year-old Harigae is winless on the LPGA Tour.
“I feel really confident, comfortable with all aspects of my game,” Harigae said. “Just everything just kind of feels solid and everything is kind of flowing together, so it feels really good.”
Fellow U.S. players Alison Lee and Elizabeth Szokol each shot 66 to get to 9 under.
The resurgent Lee birdied the final three holes on the layout that closes with consecutive par 5s.
“It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen my name on the leaderboard like this,” Lee said. “Putting myself in contention for the weekend, it feels really, really good. It almost makes it as though two years didn’t happen, which is awesome to feel.”