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Yuka Saso still 4 shots off frontrunners after 70

Yuka Saso (AFP)
Yuka Saso (AFP)

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

Yuka Saso closed out with a bogey for a 70 and remained four shots behind New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and American Danielle Kang halfway through the Gainbridge LPGA at the Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton, Florida on Friday.

The Fil-Japanese appeared headed to matching, if not improving on her opening round 67 after going three under for the day with birdies on Nos. 8, 10 and 15.

But the charge of the reigning US Women’s Open champion fizzled out with a final-hole mishap while Ko came through with a clutch birdie.

Ko’s birdie was enough to keep her lead as Kang, who was two shots behind the leader before the start of the round, birdied her final two holes for a 68.

Saso, however, refused to be ruffled, saying: “For me, (the start of the season) it is more about getting the feel back of the competition because we had been off for a month and a half.

Saso, who launched her 2022 campaign with a sixth place finish in the Tournament-of-Champions at Lake Nona last week, added: “I think be more relaxed, go for the pin, and try to be aggressive. I think that helped my game for the past two weeks. I’m already happy that I’m able to play here on the LPGA, so make a lot of cuts and play all the majors.”

Jodi Ewart Shadoff tied Saso for third by shooting a 69.

Ko, who had an explosive 63 in the first round.

Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan limped home with a 4-over- 76 to miss the cut by three shots. She shot at even par 72 in the opener for 148 total.

The 2018 Asian Games gold medalist struggled at the front nine with a triple bogey on the par-4 ninth hole and double bogey on the second.

She also bogeyed the 17th despite two earlier birdies.

Sharing fifth on 138 were England’s Bronte Law and Charley Hull, Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, Swiss Morgane Metraux and India’s Aditi Ashok.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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