Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso carded a nine-under par 63 to finish tied for second and three shots behind champion Shin Jie of Korea in the Toto Japan Classic Sunday at the Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan.
The 19-year-old Saso – a tour rookie – was tied for 12th to start the final round, behind by six shots. The Asian Games gold medalist went off with a scorching 32 in the front nine.
Saso continued her charge as the ICTSI-backed golfer converted five more birdies, including three of the last eight holes. She compiled a three-day total of 200, while Jie had 197.
Jie had a final round of 66 in the LPGA of Japan Tour’s third major championship that gave her a second title in just five tournaments as the tournament resumed after months of postponement due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The former No. 1 Korean golfer, who has of 67 career victories, including 25 in the JLPGA, 21 in the Korean Tour and 11 in the LPGA Tour, eagled on the par-5 17th for a two-shot lead then punctuated her performance with a birdie for 19-under in the Y160 million event.
As for Saso, although she came up short on her bid to win a third title, she was able to regain the Player of the Year lead from Sakura Koiwai with 928.85 points going to the last three tournaments in the next three weeks.
These events will be played in Chiba, Ehime and Miyazaki Prefectures.
Also, Saso’s Y14,637,920 (P6.8 million) earnings gave her the money list honors with Y82,753, 170 (P38.6 million), Y24 million ahead of Koiwai, who remains in the list of top 10 money earners.
Koiwai finished tied for 18th at 208 with an earning of Y1,846,400, and total earnings of Y58,862,542 and 891.46 points in the Mercedes ranking.