FIL-JAPANESE Yuka Saso ended a string of misfortunes in the LPGA as she placed joint seventh in the Mizuho Americas Open Sunday at the Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Ms. Saso shot a closing two-under 70 to finish at six-under 282 for a share of No. 7 with South Africa’s Ashely Buhai (64) and Ireland’s Leona Maguire (67) and a prize money of $70,463 (P3.96 million).
The strong placing was a major morale-booster for Ms. Saso after she missed the cut in her last four events.
Overall, the 21-year-old parbuster chalked up her third Top 10 placing of 2023 following sixth-place feats in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in January and the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March.
Ms. Saso shot nines of 33-37 on a combo of five birdies and three bogeys in the final round. If not for a bogey mishap on No. 17, the Asian Games double gold medalist could have actually finished higher and joined the group that shared fourth at 281.
In the end, the Tokyo Olympics veteran fell three shots off first-time winner Rose Zhang and runner-up Jennifer Kupcho, who carded identical nine-under 279s after 72 holes.
American Ms. Zhang, a former amateur standout on her professional debut, beat compatriot Ms. Kupcho with a par in the second playoff hole to reign supreme and bank $412,500.
South Korea’s Ryu Hae-ran finished third after a 70 for 280 followed by Japan’s Ayaka Furue, South Korea’s Ji Eun-hee and India’s Aditi Ashok, who shared fourth at 281. — Olmin Leyba