Yuka Saso registered a relatively steady game to finish the 2021 ANA Inspiration with another 1-under 71 round for an even 288, ending the tournament in joint 50th, Monday morning (Manila Time) at the Mission Hills Golf Club, Rancho Mirage in California, USA.
Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand fended off the rousing 10-under 62 round from Lydia Ko to win the title and the $465,000 (P22,569,937.50) winner’s pot. The Thai rookie ended with an overall card of 18-under 270 to become the first newbie to win this LPGA major since Julie Inkster in 198.4.
On her part, Saso pocketed $10,081 (P489,356.94).
The 2018 Asian Games champion plunged out of contention just the previous round after a rough 5-over 77 outing, and the current JLPGA rookie wanted nothing less but a strong finish.
Saso went for accuracy at the start of the day, settling for pars along the way, before finally taking on a birdie in the final hole of the front side to push herself to even par.
A double bogey in No. 11 ruined her plans, but a birdie in the following hole and another birdie to end her tournament was enough to put her back to square one after 72 holes of golf.
Saso is expected to return to Japan to continue her rookie campaign at the JLPGA.