SEEKING a storybook finish to her rookie stint on the Japanese LPGA circuit, Yuka Saso fired a 70 and stood three shots behind Japanese leader Erika Hara in a four-way tie for 10th at the start of the JPLGA Tour Championship at the Miyazaki Country Club in Miyazaki, Japan.
Saso shrugged off an uneven front nine, which featured a pair of bogeys and birdies for a 36, and found smooth sailing returning home with two birdies on hole Nos. 11 and 15 over the par 72, 6543-yard course located in the seaport city 1,127.3 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.
A two-year tour veteran, Hara scored a 67 spiked with an eagle on the second hole to prime herself up for the top pot of 30 million yen (P13.8 million) in the 72-hole, 100 million yen (P46.1 million) competition.
Saso, who bagged two gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, is eyeing two milestones in her maiden appearance on the tour: sweeping both the Mercedes Order of Merit honors and the distinction as its top earner after the season-ending tournament.