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Tiebreaker Times
Photo by Joseph Beck/USGA


Eagle saves Yuka Saso’s Shoprite LPGA campaign

Yuka Saso closed out the day with an eagle to rescue her topsy-turvy round and stay in contention with a 5-under 137 in the 2021 Shoprite LPGA Classic, Sunday morning (Manila time) at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Country Club – Bay Course in Galloway, New Jersey.

The world number 6 found herself at 2-under with just two holes left and needed to duplicate her back-to-back birdies from the previous round to keep herself afloat. And Saso did just a bit better after a birdie in No. 17 was followed by an eagle in the final hole to end in the red – 1-under 70 for the day – for the final score after two rounds.

Saso initially carried the same 5-under card after the first nine holes, taking two birdies off Nos. 5 and 9 as opposed to a single bogey at No. 8.

However, the 20-year-old standout dropped shots in the backside to get herself into trouble. A double-bogey in No. 12 followed by two bogeys – one on the immediate next hole and another in No. 15 – doomed Saso, and set her up to that gutsy finish.

The same fighting finish and the same eagle shot at the final hole saw Dottie Ardina barely making the cut. The 31-year-old veteran pulled off the shot of the day, as she made the ball bounced once and slightly roll into the hole for a three-shot take of the par-5 No. 18.

The 2009 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist’s day was once more a relatively quiet one as she just came out with a bogey-and-birdie combination after the front nine. However, the backside saw her cough a bogey in No. 15 that put her in danger of missing the cut.

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Nonetheless, Ardina had no plans of ending her tournament and pulled off that miraculous shot to stay swinging.

For her part, Bianca Pagdanganan was not able to pull off an eagle but needed something similar to her day on a high note.

Back-to-back bogeys in Nos. 6 and 7 saw the Tokyo Olympian in 2-under heading into the final hole, so she pulled off a gained shot in No. 9 to put herself at 1-under for the day and at 3-under overall.

Pagdanganan went to as high as a share of the 15th place with Saso, after a strong start put her at 5-under. The 2019 Southeast Asian Games tackled three holes with birdies off Nos. 10, 15, and 18, for a strong start.

South Koreans Ko Jin-young and Park Inbee took over the lead heading into the final round with 11-under 131, two shots off Patty Tavatanakit.

Pagdanganan will try to finish stronger as she closes her tournament at 9:04 a.m. (9:04 p.m., Manila time) starting at No. 10.

Saso on her part will take on the course for the final time a few minutes after from No. 1 at 9:59 AM (9:59 PM Manila time).

Ardina will round up the Filipinos’ campaign starting at No. 10 at 10:32 AM (10:32 PM Manila time).

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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