Yuka Saso of the Philippines delivered a come-from-behind performance on Friday at Keney Park Golf Course in Hartford, Connecticut to capture the 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship.
Saso, who trailed Rose Zhang by one stroke entering the final round, closed with a 3-under 67 to finish at 14-under for the championship, two strokes clear of Jensen Castle.
“Winning in the United States is really special,” said Saso, who finished in a tie for sixth in the Girls Junior PGA last year. “It’s really hard to do since I live in Asia. I’m just really happy and thankful.”
Zhang, the 2017 champion, held the solo lead for most of the championship, but back-to-back bogeys on holes 5 and 6 slid the 16-year-old from Irvine, California, into a tie for first with Castle and Melanie Green at 10-under.
It marked the first time since early in the second round that Zhang did not hold the solo lead.
Saso rose to sporting fame in the Philippines at the 2018 Asian Games by winning the first ever gold medal for the country in both women's individual and women's team event.
With the victory, Saso earned the Patty Berg Trophy. If she maintains her amateur status, she has also earned a spot in the 2nd Augusta National Women’s Amateur next April.
“This will help me in many ways,” said Saso. “I’m really thankful for this experience.”
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