Yuka Saso
Saso moves up to No. 20 in world list
Dante Navarro (Philstar.com) - August 5, 2019 - 12:52pm

MANILA, Philippines – Yuka Saso gained five rungs on a victory in the US Girls Junior PGA and a semifinal finish in the US Girls Junior last month, barging into the Top 20 and posting the biggest leap in the World Amateur Golf Ranking last week.

Swede Frida Kinhult kept her hold of the top spot with 1416 points average, so did the next nine players — Andrea Lee and Lucy Li of the US, Thai Atthaya Thitikul, Swiss Albane Valenzuela, Italy’s Alessia Nobilio, Korean Jiwon Jeon, Emilia Migliaccio of the US, France’s Pauline Roussin-Bouchard and Germany’s Leonie Harm.

Saso, the reigning Asian Games double gold medalist, stayed at No. 25 for a number of weeks but considerably improved with a come-from-behind win in Connecticut. She, however, fell short in her US Girls Junior title bid, losing to Florida’s Jillian Bourdage in the semis.

But those feats proved enough to break Saso into the Top 20 with the long-hitting Fil-Japanese seeking to improve her ranking with a strong finish in the US Women’s Amateur, which fires off Monday in Mississippi.

Saso, priming up for the LPGA Qualifying School, will launch her drive on No. 1 of the Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point at 1:55 p.m. along with Americans Rachel Heck and Alexa Pano, hoping to match her strong performance in US Girls Junior where she posted a record of 12-under 132 in the 36-hole stroke play elims at SentryWorld in Wisconsin to earn medalist honors.

But she expects a tougher outing this week with talents hogging the 156-player list, including recent US Girls Junior winner Lei Ye, semifinal tormentor Bourdage and USGA-sanctioned tournament winners Kelsey Chugg of Utah, Hailee Cooper of Texas, Lauren Greenlief of Viriginia, Shannon Johnson of Massachusetts, Mika Liu of California, Kaitlyn Pool of Texas, Indiana’s Julia Potter-Bobb and Ellen Secor of Oregon.

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