Asian Games double-gold medallist Yuka Saso sizzled in the early going but faltered with shaky putting, settling for a one-under 70 and a share of the lead with Thai Khawnuna Yosita and Mafy Singson at the start of the Champion Philippine Ladies Amateur Open at the Manila Golf and Country Club in Forbes Park yesterday.
They stood four strokes up on Chanettee Wannasaen, also of Thailand, who shot a 74, while Sofia Chabon and Rianne Malixi turned in identical 75s in windy conditions at the par-71 layout returning as host of the country’s premier championship after a long absence.
Junia Gabasa, coming off a victory in the W Express RVF Cup in Canlubang last week, struggled with a 76 for joint seventh with Eagle Ace Superal and Taiwanese Sung You-Chuan while Nicole Abelar lay a stroke farther back with 77 in the 54-hole championship organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines.
Just when she thought she had the posh layout all figured out after going three-under with a birdie on No. 1 and an eagle on No. 4, Saso hit an errant approach shot on No. 8 for bogey then groped for her touch on the unpredictable greens at the back, flubbing five birdie chances inside eight feet.