Saso limps with two-over 74

Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) – October 31, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Yuka Saso stumbled big-time after a scorching start and scrambled at the finish to salvage a two-over 74, tumbling to joint 51st at the start of the Hisako Higuchi Mitsubishi Electric Ladies golf tournament paced by Minami Katsu in Saitama Prefecture, Japan yesterday.

Saso came out smoking after a long break, birdying two of the first three holes of the Musashigaoka Golf Course in Hanno City and sparking hopes for a big start for the 19-year-old Fil-Japanese out to break a two-month slump after scoring back-to-back victories last August.

But just when she thought she had the rolling layout all figured out, she missed the par-3 No. 4 green and failed to go up-and-down, dropped two strokes on the par-4 No. 6 and closed out her frontside with back-to-back bogeys.

From near the top of the leaderboard, the money race leader slipped below the middle of the 95-player starting pack. She snapped that string of mishaps with a run of pars at the back then birdied the par-16th for a 39-35 card that dropped her seven strokes behind Katsu.

Over in the US, Clariss Guce hobbled in high winds and ended up with a three-over 75, falling six strokes behind Slovenia Ana Belac halfway through the Carolina Golf Classic at Pinehurst No. 9 course in North Carolina.

Dottie Ardina also limped with a 75 for joint 28th at 148 while Fil-Am Demi Runas skied to a 78 for a share of 39th 149 as the duo made the 60-player cut at 151.

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