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Saso fires four-under, moves up to solo fifth

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Saso fires four-under, moves up to solo fifth
Yuka Saso of Japan watches the ball after teeing off on the 12th hole during the third round of the 2022 Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club on January 22, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
Julio Aguilar / Getty Images / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso stayed within striking distance of the contenders with a four-under 68 in the third round of the $1.5 million Tournament of Champions yesterday in Orlando, Florida.

The reigning US Women’s Open champion carded nines of 33-35 at the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club to hike her total to 10-under 206 and move two places up to solo fifth going to the last 18 holes.

Saso stood three strokes behind world No. 1 Nelly Korda, who maintained the lead after a 69.

Korda was at 13-under for the tournament, one up on American Danielle Kang (69) and Mexican Gaby Lopez (69). Canadian Brooke Henderson, who submitted a 68, sat alone in fourth at 11-under.

The 20-year-old Saso opened the penultimate round with birdies on Nos. 2, 7 and 9. She bogeyed the par-3 13th but offset it with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th.

With a 261-yard average off the tee, Saso reached 10 of the 14 fairways and 15 of the 18 greens, finishing the round with 29 putts.

Saso switched to the Japanese flag this week but stressed her affiliation with the Philippines remains.

“I’m very proud of my dual citizenship. Whatever I represent, I’m Filipino. If I have a Japanese passport, then I can travel mostly everywhere with no visa, and that would be very helpful for my game, my career,” she said yesterday.

YUKA SASO

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