Saso fires 71, now two shots behind leaders

Published August 21, 2021, 4:46 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Photo from AFP

Filipino-Japanese golfer Yuka Saso boosted her bid for a second major title after shooting a one-under 71 in the second round of the AIG Women’s British Open Friday at the Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland.

Saso finished the day at five-under in the $4.5 million tournament following an opening round 68, and she is tied with six other players with a two-day aggregate score of 139, two shots behind co-leaders in American Mina Harigae and Canadian Georgia Hall.

Harigae fired a 67 while Hall carded a 69 in the second round for joint first and second at 137, one up on Lizette Salas of the US, Sei Young Kim of South Korea and Leona Maguire of Ireland at 138.

“I am very happy with my position,” said the 25-year-old Hall.

“I got off to a great start and the only hiccup was a double bogey at the 15th.

“But it is easy to run up a big figure over this course and I just had to forget it. I was delighted to make par over the difficult, final three holes.”

“I think it makes it more interesting for everyone if it’s windy. Some of the other players might not be so used to tough, links weather but I know I can do it. I also know that I am more experienced than I was in 2018,” she added.

The 31-year-old Harigae, on the other hand, also looks to nail her first major title after winning seven on minor events in the Tour.

“I’ve had a very good 12 months (seven top ten finishes) and I am playing the best of my career,” Harigae said.

The world No. 8 Saso converted back-to-back birdies on 4 and 5.

However, the reigning US Women’s Open golf champion closed the front nine with her first two bogeys. She also bogeyed on 12 – the same hole where she drilled in an eagle a day before with an incredible shot, a pitch off the fringe from more than 30 feet.

Saso, a two-time recipient of the prestigious Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Athlete of the Year, had her third birdie on 15.

This is Saso’s second tournament in Europe after her tied for ninth finish in the Tokyo Olympics – a first for the Asian Games gold medalist in 2018 in Indonesia to be in the Summer Games.

World no. 1 Nelly Korda, the opening day leader with a 67, struggled with a 73 as she managed to submit just two birdies – 14 and 17 – while committing bogeys on 9, 11 and 15.

Korda is tied for 12th to 17th places with Canadian Brooke Henderson, Koreans Minjee Lee and Su Oh, Hinako Shibuno of Japan and Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden all at 140.

“The putts weren’t dropping this afternoon,” said the 23-year-old Korda.

“Everyone keeps talking about how I’m playing so well, but I’m going to shoot bad scores. So just a little punch of reality that I’m human,” added the Tokyo Olympics gold medal winner. (With reports from AFP)