Saso 7 shots behind after carding 77

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    YUKA SASO bogged down yesterday (Saturday in the US) with a 77 and fell to an eight-way tie for 25th spot after three rounds of the US Women’s Open golf championships at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

    After making the cut with scores of 69 and 71 in the first two rounds, Saso had five bogeys and a double bogey, on hole No. 11, against a lone birdie over the damp par-71, 6,635-yard Cypress Creek course drenched by rain in the afternoon.

    With a total score of 217, she stood eight shots behind Japanese pacesetter Hinako Shibuno, who had 74 for 209, one shot head ahead of American US LPGA tour veteran Amy Olson, who checked in with a 71.

    Saso was left to carry the fight for the country after US LPGA tour rookie Bianca Pagdanganan bowed out after shooting 72 and 75, respectively, in the first 36 holes and failed to make the hallway cut in the $5.5 million (P264.7 million) event.

    Shibuno, the 2019 British Open champion, bookended her trip around the Champions Golf Club in Houston with two bogeys en route to a third round three-over 74 for a one-shot lead going into Sunday’s finale.

    “I was a little shocked that I dropped a couple of shots,” said the 22-year-old Shibuno, who is playing in her first US Open. “I want to do my best tomorrow and play as I normally do.”

    She admitted that the bright lights of the championship got to her. “I myself was very nervous,” she conceded.

    Olsen found her stride as the day progressed, mixing three bogeys with three birdies to keep her hopes of a first major title— and first win on the LPGA Tour— alive. “I’m definitely pleased,” she said.

    “Major championships, especially the US Women’s Open, are not easy. It was really a grind out there today. I got off to a bit of a rough start but finished strong, so that’s a positive.
    “Anything can happen tomorrow.”

    South Korea’s Kim Ji Yeong2 had the best round of the day, a four-under 67 in a round that ended with a chip in for birdie and a share of third place with Thai Moriya Jutanugarn (72).

    The shot of the day belonged to another South Korean, Chella Choi (75). She launched her tee shot on the par-three 12th and after a bounce and a roll her orange ball was in the cup for the third ace of this year’s event and 30th in tournament history.

    With rain forecast for Sunday, the LPGA announced that the final round would start at 7:45 a.m. local time from the first and 10th tees of the Cypress Creek Course.

    The US Women’s Open, the oldest women’s golf major in its 75th year, was rescheduled from June to December due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is being held without spectators.