Yuka Saso
Joey Mendoza
Saso settles for 25th; Ardina fades
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Yuka Saso hobbled at the finish and settled for joint 25th with a 72 while Dottie Ardina turned cold after a hot start and wound up tied at 48th with a 76 in the $1.3 million Women’s Australian Open won by Korean Inbee Park in Adelaide, South Australia yesterday.

Saso birdied three of the first 14 holes to spark hopes of a Top 20 finish for a player who barely made the halfway cut but the rookie Fil-Japanese pro bogeyed two of the last three and ended up tied with nine others at 288 worth $10,637.

Still, it was a big fightback for the 2018 Asian Games double-gold medalist, who missed the cut in the Handa Vic Open last week and wavered with an opening 75 here Thursday. She will be launching her pro campaign as a full-card holder in Japan LPGA next month.

Ardina also blew what had appeared to be a strong rebound from a third round 75 that dropped her to joint 31st from a share of eighth after 36 holes as she birdied Nos. 1 and 3 to re-join a host of others in Top 20. But she bogeyed Nos. 7 and 8 and failed to check a harrowing windup with five bogeys against two birdies at the back. She ended up with a 291 and pocketed $4,592.

Park, meanwhile, rode on a huge three-shot cushion after 54 holes and led by as many as five over American Amy Olson despite an even 37 start. The seven-time Major winner turned in her worst round of one-over 74 but still won by three with a 278 over Olson, who pooled a 281 after a 70.

Saso, whose driving average of 264 yards was one of the longest in the event, missed just two fairways but struggled with her short game, missing six greens although she more than made for the struggle with 28 putts.

After a sterling 25-putt feat in the second round, Ardina groped for her touch, making 32 putts in the third round and finishing with a 31. She also groped for her short game, missing half of the 18 greens and went 0-of-2 off the bunkers after an impressive 8-of-8 in the first three days.

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