Inspired by the autographed glove of American Stacey Lewis, Yuka Saso of the Philippines posted a seven-under-par 64 in the third round of the Marathon LPGA Classic at the Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).
Saso made an eagle in the par four 9 that highlighted her round, where she also connected seven birdies to go with two bogeys that gave her a three-day total of 202 at 11-under in the tournament.
The 20-year-old is tied with South Korea’s Amy Yang, American Austin Ernst and Germany’s Caroline Masson for fifth to eighth spots, all eight shots behind leader Nasa Hataoka of Japan.
Hataoka, who lost to Saso in a three-hole playoff in the US Women’s Open early this month, carded a third round 64 for a 194. She leads Americans Elizabeth Szokol and Mina Harigae by six shots as the two are tied for second and third placed at 200, while at solo fourth is Esther Henseleit at 2001.
Saso, the reigning US Women’s Open champion who met her idol Rory McIlroy two weeks ago, got her glove autographed by the two-time major champion Lewis as they played together in the first two rounds of the tournament.
“I said, ‘Is this for you?’ Lewis said, recalling when Saso approached her and asked to sign her glove. “And she kind of put her head down and said, ‘Yes.’ So, I put her name on it and everything.”
“Gosh, what a talent. Just fun energy and a really likable kid. Just really fun to see a young talent like that. If that’s what’s coming up, we’re in a great spot,” Lewis said of the Tokyo Olympics-bound Saso.
The 36-year-old Lewis, a 15-time champion in the LGPA Tour, had a bogey-free round of 65 that saw her deliver birdies on 1, 8, 9, 10, 13 and 18 to force a tie for ninth to 14th places at 203.
Also nine shots behind the leader are Brittany Lincicome, Danielle Kang, Gerina Piller and Jennifer Kupcho of the US, and Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapra in this $2 million event.