Birdie at 18, Flawless game nudges Saso to one-shot lead in Japan
Yuka Saso drained a birdie in the 18th hole to grab a one-stroke lead as she pressed her bid for a second straight victory after the penultimate round of the 2020 Nitori Ladies golf tournament in Hokkaido, Japan, Inquirer golf reported on Friday.
Saso didn’t drop a shot all day in assembling a three-under-par 69 to move a stroke clear of Hikaru Yoshimoto at 137.
Saso held the clubhouse lead in the opening round on Friday after a 67 but a late-starting Satsuki Oshiro jumped ahead of her by two strokes with a 65.
Oshiro soared to a 76 in the second round to tumble nine places down to a share of 10th at 141.
Yoshimoto stayed atop the leaderboard for most of the day after shooting a 68 but had to relinquish the upperhand to Saso when the red-hot 19-year-old dropped her third and last birdie for the day on the final hole.
Saso had earlier clinched her first professional victory when she ruled the NEC Karuizawa 72 tournament two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan will have a new guy on the bag when she gets back in action in the LPGA Tour on Friday for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in Rogers, Arkansas.
Pagdanganan’s camp has hired young Brandon Jackson, a 24-year-old assistant caddie manager at Inverness Golf Club who also caddies at Augusta National, for the Filipino ace’s third LPGA event at Pinnacle Country Club.
Pagdanganan is hoping to make the cut for the third straight event with Jackson now replacing Mick Tarel.
“Everything is still a learning process at the moment and it goes on until we build a good team around B with competent and able people,” said Pagdanganan’s dad Sam of the caddie change.
Pagdanganan spent the two-week break working on her short game. —MUSONG R. CASTILLO
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