Yuka Saso blows 4-shot lead but hangs on to stay one up
MANILA, Philippines — Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso squandered a four-shot lead midway in the front nine but managed to hold on to a one-stroke lead after the third round of the 2020 Nitori Ladies golf tournament in Hokkaido, Japan.
The 19-year-old rookie threatened to break away when she knocked in three birdies in a row from the seventh and four in a five-hole stretch counting her fifth hole birdie only to be denied by a series of putting misses in the back nine.
With the birdie putts failing to drop for Saso in the back nine, Sakura Koiwai made her move with four birdies in her own homeward trip to close the gap and keep her hopes of foiling Saso’s back-to-back title romp.
Saso’s four-under-par 68 put her at 12-under 204 through 54 holes with Koiwai right behind her at 205.
The next two players in the standings, Hikaru Yoshimoto and Hinano Muguruma, were four behind at 208.
Muguruma carded a 69 while Yoshimoto tallied a 71.
Saturday’s 68 was Saso’s seventh round in the 60s out of the 10 she had played so far on the Japan LPGA Tour. She had only gone over par once with a 74 in the second round of the season-opening Earth Mondahmin Cup.
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