Saso rallies to save a 70 in LPGT Stage 2 elims opener
Yuka Saso
Saso rallies to save a 70 in LPGT Stage 2 elims opener
Dante Navarro ( - October 15, 2019 - 3:52pm

MANILA, Philippines – Yuka Saso blazed home with an eagle-spiked 32 at the back to overcome a shaky start and card a 70 at the Panther course to trail a hot-starting Oliva Cowan from Germany at the start of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II in Venice, Florida Monday.

The reigning Asian Games gold medalist, who advanced to Stage 2 of the grueling elims with a top 20 ranking in world amateurs, struggled trying to check a rollercoaster start of two birdies against two bogeys after seven holes. But she tumbled down with a double bogey mishap on the par-4 eighth and thought she needed to come up with a strong finish to put herself back in the mix.

She did. After three pars at the back, the long-hitting Fil-Japanese birdied the par-5 13th, eagled the next par-5 on No. 15 and holed out with another birdie on the 18th to join six others at 31st place.

Though she fell six strokes behind Cowan, her strong finish should hint at a strong fightback from the country’s leading amateur.

Bianca Pagdanganan, however, failed to sustain a birdie start, also at the Panther layout, bogeying four of the next eight for a 39 and bogeys on Nos. 11 and 13 negated her second birdie on No. 10.

But the LPGA Stage I elims topnotcher, who will spearhead the country’s gold medal drive with Lois Kaye Go and Abby Arevalo in the SEA Games next month, rebounded at the finish, matching Saso’s eagle on the 16th and birdying the next to salvage a 73 for joint 86th.

The Pinay aces play the Bobcat course in the second round, hoping to improve and fuel their respective bids for the top 30 plus ties slots in the next phase, the Q-Series on October 23-November 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Cowan sizzled with a bogey-free 32-32, also at Panther, to wrest a one-stroke lead over Korean amateur Min A Yoon, who shot a 65 while Elizabeth Nagel of the US turned in a 66 for solo third.

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