By WAYLON GALVEZ
Yuka Saso missed a 10-foot par-saving putt on the 18th and settled for a par-71 to drop to second behind American Lexi Thompson going into the final 18 holes of the 2021 US Women’s Open Championship Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) at the Lake Course of The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.
Saso’s second shot on her closing hole found the rough, and worst, she miscalculated her putt, missing the right side of the cup just a few centimeters for a bogey. That mistake allowed Thompson to grab the lead.
Saso had a three-day aggregate of 207, just a shot behind Thompson who fired five birdies in a sparkling 5-under-66.
Saso made a bright start with a birdie at the first, but gave that shot back at the fourth. Birdies at the seventh and 10th gave her a two-shot lead at eight-under, but she couldn’t maintain momentum coming in – the bogey on the 18th after a birdie on the 17th pulled her down.
“I started good, started with a birdie followed with a bogey,” Saso said. “But I think I holed some good putts, just a little disappointing that I misread two putts, but I think it’s a great day.”
The 26-year-old Thompson, a 14-time LPGA Tour champion, was spectacular with her bogey free round.
She began the round at two-under tied with world No. 2 Park In-bee of Korea and English golfer Mel Reid for sixth to eighth places, but she had a solid round behind five birdies – 4, 7, 9,14 and 17.
American amateur Magha Ganne, the 17-year-old junior high from New Jersey, is tied for third to fourth places with South Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6 at three-under with a three-day total of 210.
Ganne shot a 72, while Lee6 carded a 73.
China’s Shanshan Feng is at solo fifth at 211, while tied for sixth to seventh are Japan’s Nasa Hataoka and Megan Khang of the US at 212. At solo eighth is world No. 2 Park In-bee of South Korea at 213. (With a report from AFP)