MANILA, Philippines — Yuka Saso fumbled the momentum of a hot birdie-par-par-birdie-birdie start and needed to birdie the last hole just to break par in the opening round of the Hoken no Mado Ladies Open in Fukuoka, Japan yesterday.
She went on a rollercoaster ride after a double-bogey mishap in the par-4 No. 6 and barely saved a one-under 71 for joint 31st, five behind joint leaders Chie Arimura and Yuri Yoshida.
Arimura strung up nines of 34-32 in a bogey-free 66 while Yoshida fired seven birdies against a bogey in her own version of a six-under card at the start of the 54-hole tournament offering a top prize of Y21.6 million out of the total purse of Y120 million.
Out for a solid showing to breach the Y100-million mark in earnings, Saso got off to a flying start and shared the lead through the first five holes but then lost her touch.
After a double-bogey on No. 6, Saso’s round was also marred by bogeys on Nos. 9, 13, 14 and 17.
Arimura, meanwhile, took a while before breaking a string of pars. But she hardly cooled down after back-to-back birdies from No. 6.
Yoshida took the lead through the seventh after four birdies from a five-hole stretch from No. 3. But he bogeyed the No. 8 and needed to hole out with a birdie to catch up with Arimura.
Momoko Osato was solo third at 67, followed by a Shoko Sasaki, Inami Mone and Asuha Ishikawa at joint fourth at 68.