Filipino teenager Yuka Saso grabs lead at US Women’s Open

Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow misses cut in San Francisco

Yuka Saso of the Philippines hits her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the US Women’s Open Championship at The Olympic Club  in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images

Yuka Saso of the Philippines hits her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the US Women’s Open Championship at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images

 

Yuka Saso went on a birdie blitz on a frigid Friday afternoon at the Olympic Club in San Francisco to card a four-under 67 and grab a one-stroke lead heading into the weekend at the US Women’s Open.

The 19-year-old Filipino player drilled a long putt on her final hole for her sixth birdie of the day to drop to six under par at the Major, one clear of South Korea’s Lee6 Jeong-eun.

“I love playing golf and am just thankful that I’m here,” said Saso, who said she models her swing after four-time men’s Major champion Rory McIlroy.

Jeong-eun nearly caught Saso at her last hole but her birdie putt died just short of the hole and the tournament’s 2019 champion had to settle for solo second place.

“The course is not that easy but with my focus, attention and efforts, I think I can do better,” the South Korean player said of the sprawling oceanside course, which has been visited by dense coastal fog through the first two rounds.

The Cinderella story of New Jersey high school student and overnight co-leader Megha Ganne seemed like it was destined to come crashing back to earth after two early bogeys in her morning round.

But the 17-year-old amateur proved she is full of fight, mixing three birdies with bogeys to grab a share of third with fellow American Megan Khang, who she will be paired with on Saturday.

“Once the first birdie goes in, it’s like you know more are coming,” she said. “So it’s a good feeling.”

Ganne, who received encouragement from New Jersey governor Phil Murphy on Twitter on Friday, has committed to attend nearby Stanford University next year.

The shot of the day came off the nine-iron of Jennifer Kupcho, whose tee shot on the par-three 13th bounced twice before disappearing into the cup for the first ace of this year’s tournament.

The shot proved to be a momentum shifter for the American, who nailed two more birdies and avoided any bogeys the rest of the way to sit one over par for the tournament and still very much in the mix.

A dangerous group of experienced players lurk not far behind the leaders including 10-time LPGA tour winner Shanshan Feng of China, who is in fifth place after two solid rounds.

Seven-time Major winner Inbee Park, 11-time LPGA tour winner Lexi Thompson and overnight co-leader Mel Reid are knotted at two-under in a share for sixth place and it would come as no surprise if any one of them were hoisting the trophy on Sunday.

Defending champion A Lim Kim, 2014 champion Michelle Wie West and 2010 champion Paula Creamer were among those who missed the cut.

Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow was in position to make the cut after nine holes of her second round, but four bogeys on the back nine saw her come home in 40 shots in a three over round of 74. Her total of eight over was two shots outside the cut.

This week marks the first time that the oldest women’s Major has been played at The Olympic Club, a course that has hosted five US Opens. The club did not admit its first female member until 1992.

Leaderboard

(USA unless stated, Par 71):

136 Yuka Saso (Phi) 69 67

137 Jeon-Geun Lee (Kor) 70 67

138 Megha Ganne 67 71, Megan Khang 68 70

139 Shanshan Feng (Chn) 69 70

140 Ind-Bee Park (Kor) 71 69, Melissa Reid (Eng) 67 73, Alexis Thompson 69 71

141 Nasa Hataoka (Jpn) 72 69, Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha) 71 70, Maja Stark (Swe) 71 70

142 Marina Alex 70 72, Sarah Burnham 76 66, Danielle Kang 73 69, Hyo-Joo Kim (Kor) 72 70

143 Jennifer Kupcho 70 73, Wichanee Meechai (Tha) 70 73

144 Austin Ernst 70 74, Mina Harigae 71 73, Gurleen Kaur 71 73, In-Kyung Kim (Kor) 74 70, Sei-Young Kim (Kor) 74 70, Jin-Young Ko (Kor) 70 74, Alison Lee 74 70, Stacy Lewis 72 72, Lucy Lie 73 71, Madelene Sagstroem (Swe) 71 73

145 Matilda Castren (Fin) 74 71, Ind-Gee Chun (Kor) 75 70, Ally Ewing 71 74, Gaby Lopez (Mex) 72 73, Yealimi Noh 76 69, Amy Olson 73 72, Emily Kristine Pedersen (Den) 71 74, Paphangkorn Tavatanakit (Tha) 75 70

146 Celine Boutier (Fra) 72 74, Jennifer Coleman 73 73, Brooke Henderson (Can) 68 78, Lydia Ko (Nzl) 71 75, Jessica Korda 72 74, Min-Jee Lee (Aus) 73 73, Xiyu Lin (Chn) 72 74, Yu Liu (Chn) 74 72, Maria Parra (Esp) 72 74, Som-Yeon Ryu (Kor) 74 72, Lauren Stephenson 70 76

147 Pajaree Anannarukarn (Tha) 76 71, Nam-Yeon Choi (Kor) 75 72, Rachel Heck 75 72, Celine Palomar-Herbin (Fra) 73 74, Lee-Anne Pace (Rsa) 76 71, Lizette Salas 72 75, Jenny Shin (Kor) 72 75, Luna Sobron (Esp) 71 76, Thidapa Suwannapura (Tha) 73 74, Ayako Uehara (Jpn) 76 71, Amy Yang (Kor) 74 73, Angel Yin 68 79

148 Brittany Altomare 74 74, Carlota Ciganda (Esp) 72 76, Hannah Green (Aus) 73 75, Leonie Harm (Ger) 73 75, Muni He (Chn) 72 76, Pernilla Lindberg (Swe) 76 72, Giulia Molinaro (Ita) 74 74, Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 75 73

Misssed cut

149 Ashleigh Buhai (Rsa) 74 75, Kristen Gillman 72 77, Eun-Hee Ji (Kor) 75 74, Minami Katsu (Jpn) 76 73, A-Lim Kim (Kor) 79 70, Pornanong Phatlum (Tha) 72 77, Sarah Schmelzel 72 77, Hinako Shibuno (Jpn) 73 76

150 Tiffany Chan (Hkg) 74 76, Jodi Ewart (Eng) 77 73, Haylee Harford 75 75, Moriya Jutanugarn (Tha) 78 72, Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Den) 76 74, Karolin Lampert (Ger) 80 70, Isabella McCauley 80 70, Stephanie Meadow (NIrl) 76 74, Sophia Popov (Ger) 76 74, Angela Stanford 74 76

151 Paula Creamer 75 76, Georgia Hall (Eng) 77 74, Christina Kim 75 76, Brittany Lang 75 76, Da-Yeon Lee (Kor) 76 75, Mi-Rim Lee (Kor) 73 78

152 Claire Choi 75 77, Cristie Kerr 73 79, Aline Krauter (Ger) 76 76, Emily Mahar (Aus) 77 75, Momoka Miyake (Jpn) 76 76, Azahara Munoz (Esp) 75 77, Sarah Jane Smith (Aus) 78 74, Alexandra Swayne U.S. (Ivb) 77 75, Kelly Tan (Mal) 79 73

153 Amari Avery 76 77, Amelia Garvey (Nzl) 74 79, Wei Ling Hsu (Tai) 78 75, Charley Hull (Eng) 75 78, Kim Kaufman 74 79, Gina Kim 76 77, Nelly Korda 78 75, Jaclyn LaHa 77 76, Rebecca Lee Bentham (Can) 76 77, Caroline Masson (Ger) 79 74, Kaitlyn Papp 76 77, Allie White 75 78, Cheyenne Woods 79 74

154 Ssu-Chia Cheng (Tai) 77 77, Hikari Kawamitsu (Jpn) 73 81, Mi-Hyang Lee (Kor) 75 79, Bol-Hyun Park (Kor) 76 78, Ana Pelaez (Esp) 76 78, Tsai Ching Tseng (Tai) 76 78, Karoline Tuttle 76 78, Michelle Wie 74 80, Ruoning Yin (Chn) 81 73

155 Ingrid Gutierrez (Mex) 78 77, Mi-Jung Hur (Kor) 79 76, Elizabeth Szokol 77 78, Britney Yada 78 77

156 Jor Hua Hung (Tai) 76 80, Tsubasa Kajitani (Jpn) 77 79, Cheyenne Knight 76 80, Kim Metraux (Swi) 80 76, Sung-Hyun Park (Kor) 77 79, Jennifer Song 78 78, Rose Zhang 76 80

157 Daniela Darquea (Ecu) 78 79, Sarah Kemp (Aus) 78 79, Chihiro Kogure (Jpn) 79 78, Louise Stahle (Swe) 79 78

158 Addie Baggarly 81 77, Haley Moore 81 77, Hee-Young Park (Kor) 78 80, Linnea Stroem (Swe) 79 79,

159 Kathleen Scavo 80 79, Natalie Srinivasan 78 81, Emma Talley 76 83

162 Chloe Kovelesky 81 81

163 Natsumi Nakanishi (Jpn) 76 87, Monica Vaughn 79 84

164 Leigha Devine 86 78, Noemie Pare (Can) 80 84, Aneka Seumanutafa 84 80

165 Jensen Castle 86 79

166 Amanda Linner (Swe) 85 81

167 Nicole Garcia (Rsa) 80 87, Alyssa Lamoureux 84 83, Minori Nagano (Jpn) 80 87

171 Abbey Daniel 81 90

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