US Women’s Open: Yuka Saso creates history with play-off victory

Yuka Saso
Saso was supported by a large section of Filipino locals
-4 Y Saso (Phi), N Hataoka (Jpn) *Saso wins on 3rd play-off hole; -3 L Thompson (US); -2 M Khang (US), S Feng (Chi); Level A Yin (US)
Selected others:+1 I Park (Kor), J Y Ko (Kor); +3 M Ganne (US); +8 P Tavatanakit (Tha); +12 M Reid (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Yuka Saso became the first Filipino player to win a golf major with victory in the US Women’s Open.

The 19-year-old beat Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the third hole of a sudden death play-off in San Francisco.

She had recovered from two double bogeys in the first three holes of her final round at The Olympic Club.

“My caddie said there are still many holes to go and to keep doing what I’ve been doing the past few days and to trust the process,” she said.

At 19 years, 11 months and 17 days, Saso matched South Korea’s Inbee Park to the day as the youngest champion at the women’s game’s oldest major.

Saso had to survive a late charge by Hataoka, 22, who was seeking to become the latest Japanese major champion after Hideki Matsuyama triumphed at the Masters earlier this year.

After starting the day six strokes off the lead, Hataoka stormed through with three birdies on her last six holes but could only manage pars on the three play-off holes and was forced to watch on as Saso sank the winning 10-foot birdie putt.

American Lexi Thompson had led by four strokes after her first nine holes but suffered a dramatic collapse on the back nine.

The 26-year-old started to struggle with her accuracy off the tee on the back nine and missed a crucial par putt on 17 as well as one on 18 that would have seen her into the play-off.

England’s Mel Reid, who led after the first round, carded a second successive 78 to finish in a tie for 46th on 12 over.

Saso, who earlier in the tournament revealed she has tried to emulate four-time men’s major champion Rory McIlroy’s swing, admitted she had received encouragement from the Northern Irishman on social media on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy on Twitter

“Rory said, ‘Get that trophy,’ and I did. So thank you, Rory,” she laughed.

BBC News