Tokyo—Yuka Saso bounced back with a four-under-par 67 in the third round to move up the leaderboard in the women’s golf competition of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the Kasumigaseki Country Club on Friday.
Finally showing the form that won her a historic US Women’s Open title, Saso shot five birdies, including in her last two on the 8th and 9th holes after she teed off in the back nine — against a lone bogey on the 10th.
The birdie-birdie finish enabled Saso to move up from joint 34th at the start of the day to a tie for 20th place on a four-under 209 with one round left to play in the Fil-Japanese ace’s maiden appearance in the Olympics.
Meanwhile, the Philippines remained as the best Southeast Asian country in the Summer Olympic Games at no. 49, following the gold medal of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, and the silver and bronze of boxers Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial, respectively.
Indonesia is at 46th spot, but the Philippines is expected to overtake its regional rival today when Carlo Paalam’s medal will be finally counted.
Already assured of silver, Paalam tries to upgrade it to gold when he fights Great Britain’s Galal Yafai in the men’s flyweight boxing finals on Saturday at 1 p.m. (Philippine time) at the Kokugikan Arena.
Saso, the 2018 Asian Games double gold winner remained 11 shots off the fiery pace set by American Nelly Korda, who followed a 62 with a 69 and still remained three shots clear of the field on a 15-under 198 total.
Indian youngster Aditi Ashok is at second spot with a 12-under 201 after a 68 while tied for third at 10-under are Lydia Ko of New Zealand (66), Hannah Green of Australia (67), Mone Imami of Japan (68), and Dane Emily Pedersen (70).
The Philippines’ other bet, Bianca Pagdanganan, blew a hot start with two double bogeys and a bogey in a sloppy back nine and settled for a second straight 71 — good for a share of 29th place with two others at 211.