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Yuka Saso (LPGT/ Jed Jacobsohn - Getty Images)


Strong backside fuels Yuka Saso to strong start at LPGA CME Group Tour

Yuka Saso ended her first round of the 2021 LPGA CME Group Tour Championship on a high note, as an eagle-laced finish saw her at 6-under and in a share of sixth place, Friday morning (Manila time) at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.

A tough closing stretch pushed Saso out of contention in the recently concluded Pelican Championship. Still, the Filipino-Japanese star remains optimistic heading into the season-ending tournament.

“I want to have fun and trust the process this week to wrap up the season,” she shared. “It has been a great year. My confidence has been steady throughout the season, regardless of what event I was playing.”

Nonetheless, it was a shaky start for Saso as she struggled to gain shots in the first nine holes. At the end of the front nine, the world number 6 could only come up with two birdies for a 2-under 34.

Another hiccup happened at the onset of the backside foray when she needed two extra hits to tackle No. 10. That pushed Saso down to a tie at 47th place among 60 golfers.

The 20-year-old is not a major champion for nothing. She showed that confidence she mentioned in the last stretch of the day.

Saso carved not just one birdie, but a turkey off Nos. 12 to 14 to stake her climb back to the top 20. She then took the par-5 No. 17 in just three shots before a closing birdie summed up her day.

Her flight-mate Lee Jeongeun paced the competition with 8-under 64 – just two strokes ahead of Saso, and just one under Jennifer Kupcho, Celine Boutier, ina Harigae, and Kim Sei Young.

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Saso will try to ride on her momentum as she takes the course for the second round at 12:15 PM on Friday (1:15 AM on Saturday, PH time) starting at No. 1.

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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