Asian Games gold medal winner Yuka Saso birdied the 16th hole and salvaged a one-over 73 to advance to the final round of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in Washington.
Saso’s third birdie for the day cushioned the impact of a double-bogey on the 15th hole as she tallied 145 for two rounds – enough to make it to the field of 30 players.
Saso, 17, started beautifully after birdying the opening hole but bogeyed the next hole and the fifth. Her other birdie came at hole No. 9.
Meantime, top-ranked Jennifer Kupcho will take a one-shot lead into Saturday’s final round as the reigning US collegiate champion fired a second-round 71 at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans, Georgia.
She has a five-under-par total going into the final round — which will see women competing for a trophy for the first time at Augusta National — long the home of the Masters men’s major.
Kupcho, 21, was coming off a ‘’perfect’’ first round of 68 that had left her tied overnight with 16-year-old Zoe Campos.
She was three-under for the day before her first bogey of the week at her 14th hole of the day, the par-four fifth.
She dropped another shot at the eighth to finish the day one stroke in front of Mexico’s Maria Fassi, who had an eagle, five birdies and five bogeys in a 70.
‘’I started out strong and was hitting the ball really well,’’ Kupcho said. ‘’After the bogey on the fifth, I was just trying to get through six, honestly – and then the seventh, eighth and ninth were all birdie holes.
“Obviously, I didn’t make any, and I didn’t really give myself an opportunity.