Saso staggers with 73, trails leader by nine
Yuka Saso
https://www.lpga.or.jp/news/info
Saso staggers with 73, trails leader by nine
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Yuka Saso flourished with her long game but foundered on The Classic Golf Club’s unreceptive greens, hobbling with a one-over 73 to fall nine strokes off a hot-starting Na-Ri Lee at the start of the Japan Women’s Open in Miyawaka City in Fukuoka Prefecture yesterday.

Lee flashed her flair of the Majors, ramming in five birdies in a frontside finish to complete a solid eight-under 64 for a two-stroke lead over Sakura Koiwai, who outshot Saso and Ayaka Furue in the featured flight of early leg winners on the LPGA of Japan Tour.

The ICTSI-backed Saso failed to shake off her putting woes and finished with two birdies against three bogeys, the last on the par-3 17th for a 36-37 that dropped her to joint 36th with 17 others, including Furue, 16-time JLPGA winner Ai Suzuki and last year’s runner-up Eri Okayama, in the 120-player starting field.

Her booming drives and early birdie on No. 3 coupled with Koiwai’s two birdies in the first four holes sparked hopes for a high-noon shootout between JLPGA’s top two players, who account for three of the first six titles disputed in the pandemic-shortened season of the region’s premier circuit.

Furue faded early with two bogeys in the first seven holes after humbling the elite field to capture the Descante Tokai Classic diadem last month. She, however, birdied the 15th to revive her hopes for the top Y22 million purse.

Koiwai, the recent Golf5 Ladies champion, turned in her own version of a bogey-less 66 behind a brilliant day-long display of iron game that produced birdies from close range.

LPGA Tour veteran Momoko Ueda finally hit her stride after a couple of forgettable finishes upon her return from a sixth place effort in the British Women’s Open in Scotland, gunning down five birdies against a bogey for a 68 and a share of third with Erika Hara.

YUKA SASO
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