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Saso looks to redeem self in Lotte final round

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Saso looks to redeem self in Lotte final round

FILIPINO golfer Yuka Saso eyes to redeem herself in the final round of the Lotte Championship at the Kapolei Golf Club in Oahu, Hawaii on Sunday (Philippine time).

Yuka Sazo of the Philippines plays a tee shot during the third round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship at Kapolei Golf Club on April 16, 2021 (April 17 in Manila) in Kapolei, Hawaii. AFP PHOTO

After gaining the solo clubhouse lead with her back-to-back 8-under par 64, Saso slid to the third spot as she scored 1-under par 71 in the third round on Saturday.

The Filipino golf wunderkind incurred bogeys in No. 1, 4, 5 and 8 but did just enough to keep her title bid alive by scoring birdies in No. 2, 7, 9, 14 and 17.

After the round, the 19-year-old settled for a 17-under 199 through 54 holes, which is four strokes behind clubhouse leader, Kiwi-South Korean and world No. 11 Lydia Ko, who scored a 7-under 65 in the third round for a 21-under 195 total.

The World No. 4, American Nelly Korda, scored a 9-under 63 in the third round to take the second spot, just a stroke behind Ko.

Saso, who is of Japanese descent, set a tournament record of 36 holes on 16-under par 128 after the first two rounds that gave her the clubhouse lead.

Saso’s 128 eclipsed by one stroke the 36-hole record of 129 set by South Korean Eun-hee Ji two years ago.

Saso, the 2020 Philippine Sportswriters Association awardee, hopes to become the first homegrown Pinay to win a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) title since Jennifer Rosales ruled the SBS Open in 2005.

Winning the LPGA title will give Saso, the 2018 Asian Games double gold and 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, full-exempt status for two years.