Saso falters at the finish, settles for 70

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Saso falters at the finish, settles for 70
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 -- Yuka Saso surged forward on moving day but encountered setbacks down the stretch, carding a 70 Saturday (Sunday Manila time) to all but bow out of contention in the Chevron Championship heading to a wild finish at the Woodlands in Texas.

Play was suspended due to lightning threats with Atthaya Thitikul hanging tough at the clubhouse lead with an 11-under aggregate after a three-under card with seven holes left to play. The Thai ace, putting up a stellar performance coming off a long break, is closely pursued by Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson, both trailing by just one stroke.

Korda, aiming to match an LPGA record with her fifth straight victory, also had a three-under card after 11 holes for a running 10-under total, matching Henderson’s effort that featured an eagle and seven birdies against a bogey for an eight-under round with one hole left to play.

Korean Jin Hee Im also stayed in strong contention with a nine-under total with eight holes remaining while Lauren Coughlin and Hae Ran Ryu also remained in the mix with eight-under aggregates with five and six holes, respectively, remaining.

After back-to-back 72s, Saso reeled farther back with a bogey on the first hole. But the ICTSI-backed ace seeking her second major championship found her rhythm and putting touch, rattling off five birdies in the next nine holes.

But just when she thought she had the par-72 The Club at Carlton Woods course all figured out, she faltered with a bogey on No. 14 and dropped two strokes on the next, leaving her to birdie the closing par-5 hole and salvage a 33-37 for a 214.

She, however, moved to provisional share of 31st although she remained too far behind the frontrunners to mount a serious challenge in the $7.9 million championship.

Over in Saudi Arabia, Justin Quiban and Angelo Que concluded their campaign in the Saudi Open with second consecutive four-over 75s at Riyadh Golf Club.

Quiban, who initially impressed with a share of second place after the opening round, wound up tied at 60th with a 286, while Que, a three-time Asian Tour winner, ended up in 65th place with a 289.

Meanwhile, American John Catlin fashioned a wire-to-wire triumph with a 66 and a whopping 24-under 260 total, beating Aussie Wade Ormsby by seven and claiming the first back-to-back wins on the Asian Tour in five years.

Catlin, who also ruled the International Series Macau last month, missed completing a historic Tour run of a bogey-free 72-hole stint. But he missed a seven-foot par putt on No. 14, much to the disappointment of the gallery.
In Macau, he actually made it to the record books when he shot a 59 in the third round.

Ormsby shot a 68 to pool a 267 while Peter Uihlein and Kiradech Aphibarnrat tied for third at 269 after 63 and 67, respectively.

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