The women’s major tournament organized by the American Golf Association (USGA) in San Francisco recorded up to six Asian representatives in the top 10 after 36 holes.

The list from the top down includes Yuka Saso (Philippines), Lee6 Jeongeun (Korea), Shanshan Feng (China), Park Inbee (Korea), Nasa Hataoka (Japan) and Moriya Jutanugarn (Thai).

The event is in the 76th match, starting on June 3 at the Par71 Lake yard of the Olympic Club with a prize fund of 5.5 million USD.

Yesterday, Saso went to the top of the table at -6 on 67 second-round strokes with six birdies and two bogeys on the scoreboard. This match, she reached 226 yards at two points selected by the USGA to record the average distance of the first hole. The whole leg, Saso hit six of the 14 fairways, went to the green according to the standard 13 holes with 27 putts.

Saso swings a club similar to McIlroy

Saso swings a club similar to Rory McIlroy.

“If I get lost in the rough, I just focus on getting the ball back to the fairway. Rough is so high and thick, it’s difficult to hit the green from there. I’m glad I got out safely,” Saso said of the strategy when misalignment.

Lee6 finished second in the title race, one stroke away from Saso. She won the 2019 tournament. Meanwhile, Shanshan Feng from China finished fifth at -3 and Park Inbee, Nasa Hataoka and Moriya Jutanugarn were with T9 (-1).

In the Asian group that is in high form at the tournament, only Saso has not won the LPGA Tour or major. If counting major victories, Park is first with seven championships, Jutanugarn is second with two coronations. When considering the world rankings of women’s golf (Rolex Rankings), both have been at the top, but Park accumulated 106 weeks in the position and Jutanugarn only 23 weeks.

Saso is competing for the third time at the US Women’s Open. She was cut off the first occasion, returning to T13 years ago.

Saso is the new, promising face of Asian women's golf.  Photo: AP

Saso is the new, promising face of Asian women’s golf. Image: AP

Saso was born in 2001, practicing golf since the age of eight. She won individual and team gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games hosted by Malaysia, the first time for the Philippines in this sport. Due to his personal schedule, Saso did not attend the last two SEA Games.

Saso turned professional in November 2019, choosing the Japan LPGA Tour as the starting point for more than a year and has won two trophies.

Quoc Huy


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