Yuka Saso drops to 27th in Round 3, as tough weather spoils Women’s British Open

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Posted at Aug 22 2021 07:08 AM

Yuka Saso waits to putt on the 4th green in Round 3 of the 45th AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie, Scotland on August 21, 2021. Andy Buchanan, AFP
Yuka Saso waits to putt on the 4th green in Round 3 of the 45th AIG Women's Open at Carnoustie, Scotland on August 21, 2021. Andy Buchanan, AFP

Yuka Saso of the Philippines couldn't sustain her exceptional play at the Women's British Open, faltering to a 2-over 74 in the third round on Saturday to drop out of the top 25.

The reigning US Women's Open champion registered a single birdie — on the par-5 14th — at Carnoustie, which was not enough to make up for 3 bogeys on a day blighted by heavy showers.

Saso's 213 aggregate tied with 5 others for 27th place, including American Mina Harigae, who was in first place after Friday but collapsed with a 4-over 76

Meanwhile, Sweden's Anna Nordqvist and Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen were tied on 9 under.

Nordqvist fired a best of week 65, while Koerstz Madsen highlighted her 68 with an eagle from 12 feet at the long 12th.

The pair led by one from the 2019 runner-up, Lizette Salas (70), while the group on 7 under included American Lexi Thompson (70) and Scottish amateur Louise Duncan (68).

The new US star, Yealimi Koh, was out on her own on 10 under, but then became the latest casualty of Carnoustie's testing final holes.

Ten under with 3 to play, the 20-year-old — third in last month's Evian Championship — dropped shots at the 16th and 17th and then went into the burn and ran up a double-bogey six at the 18th to finish with a 71 for six under.

Nordqvist, a 2-time major champion, won the Evian Championship in pouring rain 4 years ago, so she has shown she can perform in tough weather.

"I played so solid and I've had a great attitude this week," said the 34-year-old. 

"I love being back in Scotland and the rain wasn't quite as bad as predicted. I had a few family and friends out there which was nice."

She also knows this week is important for European Solheim Cup selection as captain Catriona Matthew names her team on Monday. 

"I need a pick so fingers crossed," said Nordqvist after the bogey free round. 

"I have played in six of them and it is always a huge highlight to make the European team."

Koerstz Madsen is hoping that one more good round could clinch her Solheim Cup debut for Europe's defence in the USA in a fortnight's time.

She won on the European Tour in 2016 and also has three victories on the Symetra Tour and had a tie for third in the first major this season, the ANA Inspiration in California.

"I am trying not to focus on the Solheim," she said. 

"I played good golf today and tomorrow I just have to calm my nerves and try and put together another good score."

Nelly Korda, the Olympic gold medallist, had a 70 to stay in contention on six under par and three off the lead.

Duncan had another outstanding day in front of her home crowd.

Playing alongside the professionals for a first time, the 21-year-old has far surpassed her expectations.

"I was just hoping to make the cut and enjoy every minute. So far, it's been amazing," she said. — With a report from Agence France-Presse

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