By WAYLON GALVEZ
Red-hot Yuka Saso continued her remarkable shotmaking and produced a four-under-par 67 to grab a one-shot lead halfway through the 2021 US Women’s Open Championship Friday at the Lake Course of The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.
Saso, who started the day tied for fourth to sixth places, mixed her round with six birdies and two bogeys for a 36-hole total of 137, a stroke ahead of Korean Lee6 Jeong-eun who also produced the other 67 of the day.
“If I go in the rough, my mindset is just to go for the fairway,” Saso, who is playing her second tournament in the LPGA, told the LPGA Communications as posted on its webpage LPGA.com.
“It’s really long and like sticky, so yeah, it’s really hard to get on from it. But yeah, I’m glad that I’m a little bit good out of it.”
Saso, who competes regularly at the Japan LPGA Tour where she has already won two titles, reached the green at an impressive 66.6% rate in regulation and is tied for second with 53 total putts.
Saso made a birdie right away on 10th before she bogeyed the 12th. She came charging back with birdies on 13th, 15th and 18th, where she made an incredible second shot.
The second shot of Saso landed about two feet from the hole, giving her an easy birdie in the $5.5 million tournament where 155 of the best lady golfers were invited.
Saso committed her second bogey on the 4th, but she birdied the 5th and 8th, where she buried a long putt from about 20 feet.
American amateur Megha Ganne, who shared the first round lead with Englishwoman Mel Reid, managed only a 71 this time and slipped to a share of third to fourth places with Megan Khan.
Three shots off Saso was Chinese Feng Shanshan (70) while Reid was a stroke farther back with multi-titled American Lexi Thompson (71) and Korean Park In-Bee.
Saso is hoping to sustain her good showing in one of the majors of the US Golf Tour to ensure she will get a spot to the Tokyo Games next month.
136 – Yuka Saso (PHI) 69-67
137 – Lee6 Jeong-eun (KOR) 70-67
138 – a-Megha Ganne 67-71, Megan Khang 68-70
139 – Feng Shanshan (CHN) 69-70
140 – Park In-bee (KOR) 71-69, Lexi Thompson 69-71, Mel Reid (ENG) 67-73
141 – a-Maja Stark (SWE) 71-70, Nasa Hataoka (JPN) 72-69, Ariya Jutanugarn (THA) 71-70
142 – Sarah Burnham 76-66, Marina Alex 70-72, Danielle Kang 73-69, Kim Hyo-joo (KOR) 72-70
143 – Wichanee Meechai (THA) 70-73, Jennifer Kupcho 70-73
144 – Stacy Lewis 72-72, Alison Lee 74-70, Kim In-kyung (KOR) 74-70, Lucy Li 73-71, Mina Harigae 71-73, Gurleen Kaur 71-73, Kim Sei-young (KOR) 74-70, Ko Jin-young (KOR) 70-74, Austin Ernst 70-74, Madelene Sagstrom (SWE) 71-73