When a golfer hits 16 out of 18 greens in regulation and make just 27 putts, good things are bound to happen.
Using her vaunted short game and putting to the hilt, rookie Yuka Saso of the Philippines showed veteran smarts at the Karuizawa Golf North Course (Nagano Prefecture) by shooting a remarkable 7-under 65 to open her title bid at the NEC Karuizawa tournament.
Saso, 19, dished out a veteran-like performance with seven birdies overall. She had three at the back nine where she started, highlighted by a pair on Nos. 15 and 16.
The Japan-raised Filipina, who grew up in Davao, was fiercer on the front side, adding four more including back-to-back hits on the second and third holes.
This was actually Saso’s second pro event at the Japan LPGA. She debuted at Earth Modahmin Cup and wound up fifth, earning an estimated P4 million.
The Japanese trio of Yoko Maeda, Haruka Kudo and Serena Aoki were two strokes back with 67 each.
Blessed with good weather and fine course conditions, there were 46 participants who shot under par in this 80 million yen tournament with the champion getting 14.4 million yen.
The top 50 players plus ties after the second round will move on the final round.
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