Yuka Saso faltered on her closing holes and managed only a two-over 74 to fall five shots off new leader Saki Asai in the second round of the rain-hit Fujitsu Ladies 2020 in Chiba Prefecture on Saturday.
After winning back-to-back titles, consistency proved to be a problem for the Fil-Japanese as she started well before misfiring in the event serving as the 9th leg of the Japan LPGA.
She birdied Nos. 4 and 5, only to yield the strokes with bogeys on the next two for an opening 36.
It was the same trend at the back as she birdied 10th from six feet but bogeyed the next when she bungled a five-footer. Though Saso gained
another stroke on No. 13 from 30 feet out, she squandered it on the next hole when she three-putted from 18 feet.
Her misery did not end there as she double-bogeyed the par-5 16th due to errant shots.
She is tied by six others, including rival Sakura Koiwai, at even 144.
Asai sizzled with a five-under 67 to jump from a share of 25th to the solo lead at 139, a stroke ahead of Korean Shin Jie.
Erstwhile frontrunner Bae Seon Woo, also of Korea, likewise struggled in tough conditions and hobbled with a 73 to tumble to third at 141 with Stanley Ladies winner Mone Inami also limping with a 73 for joint fourth with Wakimoto Hana and Jeon Mi-Jeong, who carded 69 and 71, respectively, at 142.
Over in Florida, Dottie Ardina skied to a 78 for a 151 and barely made the cut at 152 in the second round of the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship of the Symetra Tour still paced by Finnish Matilda Castren (68-136) Friday.
Fil-Am Clariss Guce missed the cut after an 80 for a 156.