Yuka Saso triumphs in playoff to win US Women’s Open

19-year-old Filipino player has modelled her swing on Rory McIlroy

Yuka Saso of the Philippines celebrates after winning the 76th US Women’s Open Championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Yuka Saso of the Philippines celebrates after winning the 76th US Women’s Open Championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

 

The Rory McIlroy-inspired Yuka Saso became the first player from the Philippines to win a golf Major by taking the US Open in a playoff at the Olympic Club in San Francisco on Sunday.

Saso claimed the title with a 10-foot birdie putt on the third hole of her playoff against Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, becoming only the second teenager to win the Women’s US Open.

Saso also matched 2008 winner Inbee Park as the tournament’s youngest champion at 19 years, 11 months and seven days old, and became the LPGA’s seventh successive first-time Major winner.

Earlier, Saso had stumbled with a two-over 73 in her final round after entering Sunday in second place a shot behind America’s Lexi Thompson.

While Thompson fell to third with a four-over 75, Saso’s up-and-down round – featuring two double bogeys, a bogey and three birdies – was just enough to clinch a playoff spot.

Hataoka had surged up the leaderboard with a three-under 68, joining Saso at four-under for the tournament, but after both women parred the first two playoff holes, it was Saso who grabbed the first telling advantage.

Saso says she had modelled her game on that of McIlroy, having spent hours watching videos of his swing before bed each night.

McIlroy has said in the past he has seen the similarities in their swings and was flattered by Saso’s praise. The Northern Irishman sent her an Instagram message before Sunday’s final round urging her to victory.

Final leaderboard

(USA unless stated, Par 71, (a) denotes amateur):

280 Yuka Saso (Phi) (winner via play off) 69 67 71 73, Nasa Hataoka (Jpn) 72 69 71 68

281 Alexis Thompson 69 71 66 75

282 Shanshan Feng (Chn) 69 70 72 71, Megan Khang 68 70 74 70

284 Angel Yin 68 79 67 70

285 Brooke Henderson (Can) 68 78 69 70, Ariya Jutanugarn (Tha) 71 70 74 70, Jin-Young Ko (Kor) 70 74 72 69, Xiyu Lin (Chn) 72 74 72 67, Ind-Bee Park (Kor) 71 69 73 72

286 Jeon-Geun Lee (Kor) 70 67 73 76, Amy Olson 73 72 70 71

287 Megha Ganne (a) 67 71 72 77, Celine Palomar-Herbin (Fra) 73 74 69 71

288 Sei-Young Kim (Kor) 74 70 73 71, Alison Lee 74 70 73 71, Lucy Lie 73 71 71 73, Maja Stark (Swe) 71 70 73 74

289 Hyo-Joo Kim (Kor) 72 70 72 75, Madelene Sagstroem (Swe) 71 73 75 70

290 Som-Yeon Ryu (Kor) 74 72 71 73

291 Emily Kristine Pedersen (Den) 71 74 73 73, Lizette Salas 72 75 74 70, Jenny Shin (Kor) 72 75 76 68

292 Marina Alex 70 72 74 76, In-Kyung Kim (Kor) 74 70 74 74, Jennifer Kupcho 70 73 75 74, Paphangkorn Tavatanakit (Tha) 75 70 75 72

293 Matilda Castren (Fin) 74 71 73 75, Mina Harigae 71 73 76 73, Jessica Korda 72 74 74 73, Wichanee Meechai (Tha) 70 73 78 72, Lauren Stephenson 70 76 75 72

294 Celine Boutier (Fra) 72 74 70 78, Rachel Heck 75 72 75 72, Danielle Kang 73 69 77 75, Lydia Ko (Nzl) 71 75 76 72, Maria Parra (Esp) 72 74 72 76, Thidapa Suwannapura (Tha) 73 74 74 73

295 Ind-Gee Chun (Kor) 75 70 75 75, Ally Ewing 71 74 75 75, Stacy Lewis 72 72 78 73, Gaby Lopez (Mex) 72 73 77 73, Ayako Uehara (Jpn) 76 71 74 74

296 Brittany Altomare 74 74 75 73, Yu Liu (Chn) 74 72 78 72, Melissa Reid (Eng) 67 73 78 78

297 Carlota Ciganda (Esp) 72 76 77 72, Jennifer Coleman 73 73 76 75, Leonie Harm (Ger) 73 75 73 76, Pernilla Lindberg (Swe) 76 72 76 73, Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 75 73 76 73

298 Nam-Yeon Choi (Kor) 75 72 74 77, Min-Jee Lee (Aus) 73 73 77 75, Amy Yang (Kor) 74 73 74 77

299 Sarah Burnham 76 66 78 79, Austin Ernst 70 74 81 74, Muni He (Chn) 72 76 72 79, Luna Sobron (Esp) 71 76 72 80

300 Giulia Molinaro (Ita) 74 74 76 76

301 Pajaree Anannarukarn (Tha) 76 71 75 79, Hannah Green (Aus) 73 75 78 75

302 Yealimi Noh 76 69 76 81, Lee-Anne Pace (Rsa) 76 71 77 78

305 Gurleen Kaur 71 73 80 81

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