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Yuka Saso won her second US Women’s Open golf crown

Japan’s Yuka Saso won her second US Women’s Open title on Sunday with a three-stroke victory at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Saso finished with a four-under-par total of 276 to claim her second LPGA Tour title three years after winning the US Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco when she represented the Philippines.

“It feels great,” said Saso, whose mother is from the Philippines and father from Japan.

“By winning in 2021, representing the Philippines, I feel like I was able to give back to my mother. This year I was able to represent Japan and I think I was able to give back to my father.

“It’s just a great feeling to be able to give back to my parents in the same way.”

Saso became only the third player, after South Koreans Pak Se-ri and Chun In-gee, to win her first two major LPGA titles, and at 22 is the youngest player to win the US Women’s Open twice .

To do so, Saso shook off a four-putt double-bogey at the par-three sixth, birdieing four holes in a five-hole stretch from 12 to 16 to pull away, while a trio of overnight co-leaders the Australian Minjee Lee’s title faded.

“I tried to be patient there,” Saso said. “I think that’s what you need to win a major like this – just have fun playing with your playing partners and enjoy the challenge.”

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, who won the 2019 Women’s British Open in her major debut, shot a two-over-par 72 to finish tied for second at one-under 279.

Shibuno was an overnight hit by co-leader Andrea Lee of the United States and American Ally Ewing. Ewing moved up the leaderboard with a four-under 66, while Lee carded a five-over 75.

Third-round co-leader Wichanee Meechai of Thailand shot a 77 to finish in a group with 282, while two-time major winner Minjee Lee endured a nightmare round of 78 to drop into the -a group with 283.

Australia’s Lee still had a two-shot lead at the turn despite failing to find a fairway on the front nine.

But as her mistakes mounted, Saso found her groove, drilling a 10-foot birdie putt on the 12th and taking the solo lead with a birdie on the par-5 13th.

She added another pair of birdies at 15 and 16, driving the green to the short par-four 16th.

– The long wait is over –

She was still in the driver’s seat after a three-putt bogey at 17 and delivered a superb chip from the front of the green for a two-putt par at the 18th that sealed it.

“I also chipped in front yesterday and left it more than 10 feet, and I told myself, be aggressive and not be 10 feet short,” Saso said. “I’m glad I was able to do it.”

It was an emotional win for Saso, who fought back tears as he thanked his family when presented with the trophy.

“Winning makes you look back at all the things that your family, your team and my sponsors — have supported me through thick and thin,” she said.

Andrea Lee was the last player to have a chance to catch Saso, but she finished with back-to-back bogeys.

“I really grinded it out there,” said the American. “I tried to come back, but it was difficult. We just didn’t have everything we could today.”

Minjee Lee, who won majors at the 2021 Evian Championship and the 2022 US Open, holed an 11-foot birdie at the first, but that was the last bright spot of her day.

The Australian hit her first fairway on the 10th but three-putted for bogey to move into a tie for the lead, while Saso birdied the 12th.

Things got worse at 12, when she was in the water en route to a double-bogey that sent the pair adrift.

“We started well,” said the Aussie. “I felt like I hit it pretty well, I just missed a couple of birdie putts early and then I just kind of exploded from there.”

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