Yuka yields POTY lead as Furue tops Elleair tilt
Yuka Saso
Yuka yields POTY lead as Furue tops Elleair tilt
(The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Yuka Saso missed hitting Y100 million in earnings in record fashion as she succumbed to an in-form Ayaka Furue in the Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open final, imperilling even her bid for the Player of the Year honors that had once appeared to be hers with two tournaments left in the LPGA of Japan Tour.

But Furue had other things in mind.

Picking up from where she left off at the Itoen Ladies which she ruled last week, the 20-year-old rookie from Hyogo dominated like no other with a blazing start then cruised to a three-stroke victory over Korean Lee Min-Young despite a last-hole bogey for a 69 and a 15-under 269.

Lee snared runner-up honors at 272 with one of the day’s best 66s at the Elleair Golf Club Matsuyama as Saso, just two down after 54 holes, hobbled with a three-putt miscue on the first hole and never recovered. The Fil-Japanese finished with a 73 for joint third at 275 with Kikuchi Erika, who carded a 70.

With Saso stumbling early, Furue pulled away by six after 10 holes before Lee made a late charge in a flight ahead and closed out with three birdies in the last six holes to secure second place.

“She (Furue) is amazing and tough,” said Saso of her fellow rookie.

The victory, which came after she nipped Miki Sakai on the third playoff hole in Chiba, netted Furue Y18 million, which had Saso won would’ve made her the first player to reach the Y100 million mark in just 13 tournaments, two of which she had won.

With the win, Furue gained 300 ranking points as she dislodged Saso from the top of the Player of the Year derby with 1,131.78 points. The ICTSI-backed ace slipped to second with 1,048.85 points although her Y6.5 million in earnings kept her in the money race lead with a total of Y89,253,170 with Furue now at second with an accumulated winnings of Y73,102,992.

Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan failed to check a roller-coaster backside start and dropped one more bogey in a birdie-less closing nine, ending up with a two-over 72 and dropping three rungs to joint 40th in the third round of the Pelican Women’s Championship over in Belleair, Florida.

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