IBARAKI, JAPAN — Yuka Saso almost claimed her third championship with a strong 9-under 63 in the final round of the LPGA Tour of Japan’s 2020 Toto Japan Classic to finish in second, Sunday at the Taiheiyo Club Minori Course.
Her finish put Saso back into the lead in the Mercedes Rankings with 928.85 points, 37.39 points clear of Japanese rival Sakura Koiwai.
The 19-year-old also managed to increase her winnings to a total of Y82,753,170 (P53,208,599.49 as of publishing).
The two-time tour champion, who hails from San Ildefonso, Bulacan, struggled and registered a 2-under 70 in the opening round. She then bounced back with a 5-under 67 in the second, to zoom in to a tie for 12th place heading into the day’s final go-around.
Saso slowly climbed into the leaderboard with four birdies in the front nine, including back-to-back in the sixth and seventh holes.
Two more straight birdies in the 11th and 12th holes gave the Filipino-Japanese a chance to get back on track. She then moved into title contention after three consecutive birdies in the final three holes put her into 9-under 63, for a total of 16-under 200.
Only South Korean Jiyai Shin ended the tournament stronger, with a huge eagle in the 17th hole and a birdie in the final. That replicated her opening-round score of 6-under 66 on Sunday’s final go-around to end with 19-under 197 on aggregate.
The now two-time champion bagged the 24-million Yen winner’s pot.