Yuka Saso wavered at the finish on the way to two-over 74 for a joint 51st at the start of the Hisako Higuchi Mitsubishi Electric Ladies golf tournament paced by Minami Katsu in Saitama Prefecture, Japan on Friday.
Though Saso birdied two of the first three holes of the Musashigaoka Golf Course in Hanno City, she bogeyed the fourth after missing the green before dropping two strokes on the par-4 No. 6.
Her woes did not end there as she closed out her frontside stint with back-to-back bogeys.
Good thing she birdied the 16th, leaving her just seven shots off Katsu, who birdied three of the last five holes for a 67.
The 22-year-old Katsu was a stroke ahead of 2016 champion Shin Jie, who missed forcing a share of the lead with a bogey on No. 17.
Other four-under par scorers were Miyuki Takeuchi and Asuka Ishikawa.
Over in the US, Clariss Guce struggled due to high winds and submitted a
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 Friday.
She had a two-day aggregate of 143 – six shots off Belac, who survived the day-long ordeal and escaped with a 71 to stay at the helm with a 137.
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.