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Saso grabs first-round lead at CPKC Women’s Open

Vancouver: Yuka Saso produced a blistering run of birdies to grab the first-round lead at the CPKC Women's Open with a six-under-par round of 66 at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

Yuka Saso AFP FILE PHOTO

Saso, starting on the back nine, reached the turn on even par but the 22-year-old, who won the US Women's Open in 2021, came alive with four straight birdies and added two more to ensure a one-stroke lead over Sweden's Linn Grant.

“First nine was pretty stable. Hit it okay. Putted okay. I don't know what happened on the back nine. I started hitting some good second shots and having short putts for birdies, giving myself a lot of chances,” said the Philippines-born Saso, who was delighted with her approach shots in particular.

“Everyone wants our irons to be very consistent and really good. I think that paid off a little bit today (but) it's just the first day, so we will see how it goes,” she added.

Grant, who won the Dana Open in Ohio last month, also benefitted from a four-hole streak, on her back nine right after a bogey on the par-5 11th.

The Swede's 67 gave her a two-stroke cushion over the chasing pack.

“I think it was a mix of some lucky birdies and some really good ones. I think after 12 I kind of got confidence going and kind of felt more confident hitting the shots and relying on my golf and myself,” she said.

“More of a confidence boost on the back nine.

I think the course is tough. It's really narrow off the tee and if you get in the rough it's kind of hard to get the ball to stop on the greens because they're so firm and so tiny and they're fast.

So I think you got everything on this golf course. If you're not ready for it it's going to hit you when you go out there,” she said.

Six players sat on three-under after carding rounds of 69 with the Canadian crowd particularly pleased to see Alena Sharp in contention.

Sharp said the added pressure of playing on a home course had caused her some nerves on the early holes where she three putted to bogey the 11th, but settled down after birdies on 14 and 15.

“To be honest, the start was a little shaky. I was a little nervous. You got to kind of put your blinders on out here. Fairways are narrow,” she said.

“I feel like every Canadian will say the same thing. Whether you're on the LPGA or PGA you always want to do well at home. There is always a little bit of extra pressure. Obviously, we do it to ourselves,” she said.

“I definitely could feel the nerves a little bit yesterday and then this morning. But I shook it off. Held on. Like you got to just hold on and try and just make a change.

“I calmed down and was in the driver's seat the rest of the way,” she said.

Americans Danielle Kang and Rose Zhang were level with Sharp on three-under along with China's Zhang Weiwei, and South Koreans Kim Sei-Young and Ko Jin-young.

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Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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