Saso ends up tied for 13th, banks P4.6 million

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    YUKA Saso’s hopes of a better maiden finish in the US Women’s Open golf championship sank yesterday (Monday in the US) with a double bogey on the 17th hole, winding up with a 72 and a seven-way tie for 13th place at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

    After bogeys on holes No. 3 and 7, Saso seemed to have found her groove when she sank three birdies, including back-to-back ones on Nos. 12 and 13, only to see her gains eroded with an error on the 17th, a par four, at the par-71, 6,635-yard Cypress Creek layout.

    The 2018 Asian Games double gold medalist and Olympic hopeful closed out with a four-round tally of 289, worth $96,800 (roughly P4.6 million), nine shots behind South Korean champion A Lim Kim, who came from behind to rule the US LPGA tour’s major event by one shot.

    Kim strung up three birdies in the last three hole en route to a 67 and a 281 total, pocketing the $1 million ($48 million) championship prize for a remarkable US Women’s Open debut.

    She surged past compatriot and world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and American veteran Amy Olson, who finished with identical 282s after shooting 68 and 72, respectively, worth $487,826 (P23.4 million) apiece.

    Saso’s respectable US Women’s Open debut outing boosted her five notches higher in the latest Rolex World Women’s rankings at No. 45 and one rung up in the International Golf Federation Olympic qualifying rankings at No. 21 that were released yesterday.

    Bianca Pagdanganan, who failed to make the US Women’s Open halfway cut, slipped one place in the Rolex and IGF Olympic rankings at No. 150 and 41, respectively.

    Kim started the final round five strokes back and trailed Olson by two shots through 15 holes when she caught fire on a cold morning to finish the final round with a 67.

    Kim tied the record for the biggest comeback in the tournament. The final round of the event, which was rescheduled from June to December due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was delayed by a day due to bad weather.