Filipina teen golfer Yuka Saso bounced back from two early double bogeys and held off Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the third hole of a sudden death playoff to win the 76th US Women’s Open golf championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco on Sunday, June 6 (Monday, June 7, Philippine time).
The 19-year-old Saso became the first Filipino player to win the tournament and announced herself as a new force in the game with her first major title.
“I’d like to thank my family, I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said through tears. “To all my sponsors and to all my friends and fans back in the Philippines and Japan, I’m so thankful.”
At 19 years, 11 months, and 17 days, Saso tied South Korea’s Park Imbee to the day as the youngest champion at the women’s game’s oldest major.
The playoff came after American Lexi Thompson, who led by four strokes at the turn, suffered a heartbreaking collapse on the back nine and left a par putt that would have put her in the playoff short of the hole.
After a rough start with back-to-back bogeys in No. 2 and No. 3, Saso – a double gold medalist in the 2018 Asian Games – rallied back with back-to-back birdies and a par in the last three holes to end the fourth round with a 73.
This forced a two-hole aggregate playoff on No. 9 and 18 with Hataoka for the US Open Crown.
Both Saso and Hataoka tied the first playoff hole with a par, but after the Japanese nailed a par, Saso overcame all odds with a tough putt to extend the playoffs to sudden death.
– With a report from Reuters/Rappler.com