Al-Khaleej win their first Elite Handball Cup

Yuka Saso wins another US Women’s Open. This was for Japan, after the Philippines

LANCASTER, Pennsylvania: The first Filipina to win the US Women’s Open, and now the first Japanese. The sweetest thing for Yuka Saso was sharing her biggest prize in her sport with the countries of both of her parents.

Saso produced a masterpiece on the back nine at the tough Lancaster Country Club on Sunday amid the collapses of so many contenders. He closed with a 2-under 68 – the four players from the final two groups combined to go 22 over par – for a three-shot victory.

And then she held back tears at the trophy presentation — the silver Semple Trophy only has the names of the 79 winners, not their countries — as she thought about how her Filipino mother and Japanese father had provided her with so much care and support.

He won at the Olympic Club in 2021 playing under the Philippine flag. He won at Lancaster three years later under the flag of Japan. She couldn’t be more proud of both of them.

“By winning in 2021, I represented the Philippines. I feel like I was able to give something back to my mother,” Saso said. “This year I was able to represent Japan and I think I was able to give something back to my father. I’m very happy that I was able to do that.

“It’s just a wonderful feeling that I was able to give back to my parents in the same way.”

Only the flag has changed. The 22-year-old Saso was rock solid along the course as she was at the Olympic Club, where two late birdies put her in a playoff win over Nasa Hataoka.

This time, he rode out four birdies over a five-hole stretch on the back nine with a collection of clutch moments with tee shots and putts, wedges and long irons, everything golf’s toughest test demands. And no one could take her.

Saso was up and down at par from below the 18th green to finish at 4-under 276, winning by three strokes over Hinako Shibuno, who in 2019 became the first Japanese player to win the Women’s British Open.

They were the only two players under par, the fewest for the Women’s Open in 10 years.

Saso, who has two Japanese LPGA titles before coming to America, joined Se Ri Pak and In Gee Chun as the only players to earn their first two LPGA victories at major championships.

This was also her first win since her Olympic Club days, a win so surprising that she said she wasn’t ready for the spotlight. She has handled everything Lancaster and the Women’s Open have thrown her way.

“I really wanted it, too, not only to get a second win, but also to prove something to myself,” Saso said. “I haven’t won for three years. I definitely had a little doubt if I could win again or if I won’t win again. But yes, I think those experiences helped me a lot and I think I was able to prove something to myself.

Andrea Lee, part of a three-way tie for the lead earlier in this wild day, was the last player who had a chance to catch Saso. But the Stanford alumna, former No. 1 amateur. 1, badly missed her tee shot on the easy 16th and had to settle for par, then bogeyed on the 17th. Lee made one final bogey on the 18th for a 75 and tied for third with Ally Ewing (66) .

Saso won $2.4 million from the $12 million prize pool, the largest in women’s golf and women’s sports at an independent venue.

The win also put Saso in position to return to the Olympics: She played for the Philippines in 2021 at the Tokyo Games and placed ninth. She had to decide before turning 21 which country to represent and she chose Japan.

He led a strong performance by Japan in Lancaster: five players in the top 10. Saso and Shibuno were the first Japanese players to finish 1-2 in any major.

As much as Saso shined, Sunday was full of collapses. None was more shocking than Minjee Lee, a two-time major champion who captured the Women’s Open at Pine Needles two years ago.

Minjee Lee led by three shots when she got to the sixth hole. She missed a few birdie opportunities and she made two bogeys before making the turn, but she was still in control. And then her tee shot on the par-3 12th — the same hole where Nelly Korda carded 10 in the opening round — came up short and rolled back into the water. She took double bogey to fall into a tie with Saso.

Saso took the lead for good with a wedge to 3 feet for birdie on the 13th. Minjee Lee drove into waist-high grass on the 14th, took a penalty and made another double bogey. He closed with a 78.

“I missed a couple putts for birdie early and then I exploded from there,” he said.

Wichanee Meechai of Thailand, the outsider among the LPGA winless leaders and No. 158 in the world rankings, fell early and took a triple bogey on the par-3 sixth. She shot 77.

Saso was not immune to mistakes. He had a four-putt double bogey on the par-3 sixth that left him four strokes behind Minjee Lee. This was the last of the mistakes that mattered.

His big run began with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole, followed by a wedge for birdie on hole No. 13. He hit a 6-foot approach to the 15th hole and then delivered the winner, a 3-wood to 20 feet. on the reachable par-4 16th for a two-putt birdie.

Saso is the second woman to win a major under two flags. Sally Little won the 1980 LPGA Championship for South Africa, and then won the du Maurier Classic in 1988 as an American citizen.

Saso began the final round with a three-shot deficit and it didn’t take long for the collapses to occur.

Andrea Lee three-putted on the opening hole and then took a double bogey on the fourth when she entered the creek, hit a tree with her third shot and had to get up and down a bunker for double bogey. Meechai three-putted her first two holes, and then went left of the flag on the par-3 sixth where the green slopes left and into the creek.

Saso also needed help in her other U.S. Women’s Open win: Lexi Thompson blew a five-shot lead in the final 10 holes. This time she took control with a brilliant display of clutch putting and exploiting scoring holes.

He said his emotions stemmed from not expecting to win. He looked like that at Olympic, and he looked like that at Lancaster. This seemed twice as good to me.

Leave a Comment

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL