Rising Filipina golf phenom Yuka Saso produced a memorable weekend at the LPGA Lotte Championship in Kapolei, Hawaii, despite faltering in a winnable tournament.
Saso held the 2-day lead with a pair of masterful 64 rounds, but couldn't sustain that brilliant start as she carded a 71 and 70 for a 19-under finish, good for a tie for 6th to 9th places.
With her outing at Kapolei Golf Club, the 2-time Japan LPGA winner and reigning Asian Games women's singles champion had everyone on notice.
Including New Zealand's Lydia Ko, who ran away with the Lotte trophy on the back of a dominant 28-under-60 showing.
Prior to the final round, Ko on Saturday lauded Saso's performance.
"She's been super impressive just to play alongside," Ko, the LPGA player of the year in 2015 and a 2-time Major winner, said in an interview on LPGA.com.
"I remember playing with her for the first time a couple years ago during a practice round and thought, 'Wow, this girl is so impressive and she has things that I don't have in my game'."
Nineteen-year-old Saso said she liked that Ko, even though she is one of the world's top players, was "kind" to her.
"You know, when she said like she remembers like when we played in US Women's Open practice round I really felt happy. Who would think she would remember, right?" Saso said.
"So, yeah, playing with her — I mean, I didn't play well the first couple holes, but, you know, she is very kind. Yeah, it's nice playing with her today."
Based on Saso's play in Hawaii, Ko said the tour shouldn't be surprised if the Filipina golfer contended again.
"She's been playing amazing over in Japan, and I'm sure she's doing her country so proud," Ko said.
"Hopefully it's something that we'll see more often on tour, and I'm 100% sure her name is going to pop up on many leaderboards."