Yuka Saso fires 67 in ShopRite Classic, trails leaders by two

Published October 2, 2021, 2:30 PM

by Manila Bulletin Sports

GALLOWAY, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 01: Yuka Saso of the Philippines hits her tee shot on the 3rd hole during the first round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer on the Bay Course at Seaview Golf Club on October 01, 2021 in Galloway, New Jersey. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Reigning US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso birdied her two closing holes on the way to a four-under par 67 in the opening round of the LPGA Tour’s ShopRite Classic Friday (Saturday, PH time) at the Stockton Seaview Golf Club in Galloway, New Jersey.

The Fil-Japanese star got off to a cold start as she bogeyed the 10th hole where she launched her bid but recovered big time to trail early frontrunners – Korean So Yeon Ryu and Swiss Jodi Ewart Shadoff – by two shots.

Saso, who collected almost P5.3 million for finishing in a tie for fourth place in the Northwest Arkansas Championship in Rogers, Northwest Arkansas on Sunday (Monday, PH time), turned things around by birdying all three par-5s beginning on the 9th hole to gain a tie for 11th to 20th places.

She also birdied the 3rd and 9th holes – both par-5. Her two other birdies came on the 5th and 9th holes to draw level with 9 others, including Caroline Masson of Germany, American Brittany Lincicome and social media sensation He Muni of China.

Two shots farther back were the group of Bianca Pagdangnan and three-time major winner Anna Nordqvist.

Dottie Ardina, another Filipino bet, needs to produce a solid game in the second round after settling only for a 71. She was tied for 70.

A group of eight players are one stroke back of the lead and tied for third at five-under, including world No. 2 Ko Jin-young, South Korean Park In-bee and 10-time LPGA Tour winner Brooke Henderson. (With a report from AFP)