Yuka Saso maintained her shot at her first-ever US Women’s Open title despite dropping to second place with a 6-under 207 at the end of the third and penultimate round, Sunday morning (Manila time) at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.
After taking the pole the previous day as the first teenager to lead the tournament at its halfway point since Park Inbee in 2008, the 2018 Asian Games double champion was more than pumped to continue her run.
“First, I’m really thankful and happy that there’s so many people cheering for me, but it doesn’t really go into my head. I’m just really focused on what I have to do now,” the 19-year-old said.
Saso encountered an early mishap after her first shot went into the rough. Nonetheless, she recovered to eventually birdy no. 1 for the two-stroke lead.
The 19-year-old then carried this birdie over into the back 10, which turned out to be crucial for what had happened at the backside.
Saso widened the lead at three with a birdie into the 10th, with a surging Lexi Thompson at her tail. However, two straight bogeys in nos. 13 and 14, coupled by the American’s two birdies swung the lead to the latter’s favor.
The Filipino-Japanese then closed the round with a birdie-and-bogey combination to end the day as she started it, which is at 6-under. This time, at the other end of a one-shot deficit off Thompson’s 7-under.
With the title on the line, Saso looks to become the first Filipino to win a major title in golf as the tournament closes on Sunday.