MANILA, Philippines — A fading Yuka Saso bid her aspirations at the ANA Inspiration Championship goodbye after coughing out a 5-over par 77 on Black Saturday in Rancho Mirage, California.
Saso carded a decent 37 in the first nine but stumbled big time in the backside, dropping four shots in the last five holes to find herself at one-over after three rounds and way off the contenders.
After keeping in step with the world’s best in the first two rounds, the Fil-Japanese star now sat further down the leaderboard at 53rd, a whopping 15 shots adrift of red-hot Thai Patty Tavatanakit. Saso opened the tournament sitting at eighth after a solid 69 and stayed in range at 12th following a second-round 71.
Overnight leader Tavatanakit threatened to pull away from the pack after firing a 67 and seizing a five-stroke cushion against American Ally Ewing (66) and Korean Mirim Lee (68).
The 21-year-old Tavatanakit, who earlier shot 66 and 69, is 14-under through 54 holes at Mission Hills Dinah Shore course.
Saso actually started the day at four-under for the tournament – just five shots behind – and had the opportunity to get back into contention.
She bogeyed the opening hole but got it back with a birdie on No. 2 then dropped a shot at the sixth.
Then it was essentially downhill from there as Saso double-bogeyed the par-3 14th then bogeyed the 15th and 17th in a catastrophic 40 card at the back.
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