Yuka Saso seizes one-shot lead in US Women’s Open

Published June 5, 2021, 11:51 AM

by Waylon Galvez

Yuka Saso

Filipino-Japanese golfer Yuka Saso made the big plays one after another as she carded a four-under-par 67 to take the solo lead in the 2021 US Women’s Open Championship second round Friday, June 4, at the Lake Course of The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.

Saso, who started the day tied for fourth to sixth places, mixed her round with a total of six birdies and two bogeys that gave her a one-shot lead on South Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6.

The 19-year-old Saso, a double gold medal winner in the last Asian Games in Indonesia, is six-under-par for the tournament with a two-day total of 136 after her opening round of 69.

Lee6, who matched Saso’s 67 in the second round, is a stroke behind at 137 after her 70 in the first round.

“If I go in the rough, my mindset is just to go for the fairway,” Saso, who is only on her second US Women’s Open stint, told the LPGA Communications as posted on its webpage LPGA.com.

“It’s really long and like sticky, so yeah, it’s really hard to get on from it. But yeah, I’m glad that I’m a little bit good out of it.”

Saso, who competes at the Japan LPGA Tour where she has won two titles, has reached the green at an impressive 66.6% in regulation and is tied for second with 53 total putts.

Saso, who started on hole 9, made a birdie on 10 before she bogeyed on 12. She came charging back with three straight birdies on 13, 15 and 18, where she made an incredible second shot.

That second shot of Saso landed about two feet from the hole, giving her an easy birdie, which put her at five-under-par in the $5.5 million tournament where 155 of the best lady golfers were invited.

Saso committed her second bogey on 4, but she birdied on 5 and 8, where she buried a long putt from about 20 feet. On the other hand, Lee, who won the event two years ago, had five birdies and a bogey.

Two players from the US are two shots down as 17-year-old amateur Magha Ganne and Megan Khang are at third to fourth spots with 138.

Ganne, the co-leader in the opening round with English golfer Mel Reid, finished with a 71, while Khang had a 70. China’s Shanshan Feng is at solo fifth after her 70 for 139.

South Korea’s world No. 2 Park In-bee and 14-time LPGA champion Lexi Thompson are tied with Reid for sixth to eighth places at 140. Park followed her first round 71 with a 69, Thompson had a 71 after a 69, while Reid had a 73 after she initially submitted a 67.

Former world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, who became a two-time majors champion when she bagged the 2018 US Women’s Open title, finished tied for ninth to 11th spots with amateur Maja Stark of Sweden and Nasa Hataoka of Japan at 141.

Meanwhile, the cut was at +6 as 66 players moved to the final two days of competition this weekend. Last year’s champion A Lim Kim finished at +7 and became the first defending champion to miss the cut since Sung Hyun Park two years ago.