Yuka Saso encountered roadblocks but eventually finished strong to end at third with 17-under 199 after three rounds in the 2021 Lotte Championship at the Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii, Saturday morning (Manila time).
After plucking a scoring record of 16-under 128 after two rounds, the sponsor entrant had a rough time during the day.
The humid afternoon could not fire up Saso as she opened the day with a bogey. She continued to struggle heavily through the front nine with three more bogeys, but fortunately, three birdies pushed her to 1-over 37 at the turn.
The 2018 Asian Games champion then kept it steady and eventually went to even par for the day with a birdie in No. 14. Another birdie at the 17th ultimately closed Saso’s day with a 1-under 71 for her total after three rounds.
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko took the lead after another solid outing at 7-under 75 for 21-under 195 overall. CME Standings leader Nelly Korda of the USA registered a round-best 9-under to stay three strokes ahead of Saso.
Nonetheless, Saso is still very much in contention for her first LPGA title and will attempt to bag it as the tournament closes on Saturday here in Hawaii.