Saso, Pinay bets falter in LPGA, Epson tours

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Saso, Pinay bets falter in LPGA, Epson tours
Yuka Saso
Photo courtesy of usga.org

MANILA, Philippines – Yuka Saso hobbled with a double-bogey in her closing hole on the ninth and ended up with an even-par 71 for joint 42nd in the Ascendant LPGA benefitting Volunteers of America ruled by England’s Charley Hull in a gripping backside duel at The Colony, Texas Sunday (Monday, Manila time).

After a pedestrian one-birdie, one-bogey card at the back of the Old American course where she teed off, the 2021 US Women’s Open champion appeared headed for a big finish with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3. Though she stumbled with a bogey on the par-3 No. 5, she quickly recovered the stroke on the next par-3 on No. 7 but hit an errant shot on the ninth and yielded two strokes.

With a 35-36 round, the ICTSI-backed shotmaker finished where she stood at after 54 holes, her worst in her last four tournaments, where she wound up no higher than tied 32nd (NW Arkansas Championship), following back-to-back missed cut stints in AIG Women’s Open and the Dana Open.

Though she continued to grapple with her irons, missing nine greens, Saso kept her putting touch going, finishing with 26, which she hopes to flaunt in the LPGA Mediheal Championship beginning Thursday in Somis, California.

Hull, meanwhile, came out on top of a backside shootout with Chinese Xiyu Lin and fancied Kiwi Lydia Ko, birdying four of the last seven holes, sparked by a three-birdie binge from No. 12, to fire a 64 and beat Lin by one with a 18-under 266 total.

Lin, the first round leader, made one last bid for at least a playoff, birdying the 16th then holing out with an eagle on the par-5 penultimate hole. But she flubbed a birdie chance on the last, enabling Hull, who kept a one-stroke lead with a birdie on the 17th, to escape with the win.

Lin finished with a 267 while Ko also rattled off a bogey-free 65 but ran out of holes and settled for third at 268.

Over on the Epson Tour, Abby Arevalo closed out with a two-under 70 and tied for 36th as ICTSI teammate Dottie Ardina limped with a 75 and ended up at joint 40th in the Toyota Classic won by Norway’s Celine Borge on a sizzling eagle-spiked, bogey-free 63 in Alabama, also Sunday.

Borge rallied from joint seventh to snatch the championship with a birdie-blitz and an eagle, stringing a 33-30 feat for a 201. She beat Korean Hyo Joo Jang, who shot a 67 for a 202, by one.

Ardina, who jumped to joint ninth with a 70 in the second round of the 54-hole season-closing tournament of the LPGA Tour farm league before the Epson Tour Championship, tumbled down with three straight bogeys from No. 3. She snapped a run of pars with birdies on Nos. 12 and 15, only to yield the strokes on the last two holes.

The Copper Rock Championship winner last March wound up with a 75 and fell to tied 40th at 214 with Arevalo improving from joint 42nd to tied 36th with a 213.

Pauline del Rosario carded a 71 for a share of 47th at 216.



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