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yuka saso

Yuka Saso secures second US Women’s Open title in historic fashion

Japanese star Yuka Saso has become the youngest player to win her second US Women’s Open title after securing a three-shot win at Lancaster Country Club.

 

Your first two LPGA Tour titles might as well be major championships. 22-year-old Yuka Saso has taken that route.

Saso emerged from a brutal, bruising US Women’s Open in Pennsylvania to win her second US Open title and her second major.

She fell behind in the early stages of the final round at Lancaster Country Club, but she is now the youngest two-time US Women’s Open champion and the fourth multiple US Women’s Open winner from outside of the United States.

In 2021, she won her first US Women’s Open while representing the Philippines. Her mother is Philipino, but her father is Japanese. She decided to switch her citizenship to Japanese before turning 21, so she has won two majors under two flags, for both of her parents.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, so how did Saso etch her name in golf history?

So what happened in the US Women’s Open final round?

Minjee Lee, Andrea Lee and Wichanee Meechai began the final round tied in the lead on five-under, but Minjee Lee raced into a three-shot lead not long after the final group began.

Meechai tripled-bogeyed the par-3 6th hole after putting woes. Having opened with two bogeys too, she fell five shots behind. Andrea Lee also double-bogeyed the 4th hole and she was three shots behind.

The Australian Lee led by two shots after seven holes in what became a war of attrition. The five players who started the final round under par were a combined 11-over-par through six holes.

Arpichaya Yubol of Thailand made a significant run on the front nine as most of her competitors faltered. With four birdies in 10 holes, Yubol reached one-under and she was Minjee Lee’s closest pursuer with Andrea Lee, Yuka Saso and Hinako Shibuno at that stage.

But even Lee who was leading struggled in the first half of the round. She bogeyed the 9th hole, she was two-over for the first nine and her lead was at two strokes. Like Lee, chasing another US Women’s Open title, Saso was tenaciously doing the same. A birdie on 12 and a bogey by Lee on 10 after a short missed putt meant we had a two-way tie at the top on 2-under.

Lee dropped out of the lead for the first time when Saso rammed home a short birdie putt on 13. She won the US Women’s Open at the Olympic Club three years ago, and her one-shot lead put her in position A to win her second title.

yuka saso

(Image credit: All images from USGA)

ALSO: What clubs does Yuka Saso use?

Andrea Lee timed her fightback to perfection. She holed a long, looping birdie putt on the brutal par-3 12th hole to reach two-under, while Minjee Lee found the water and made a double-bogey to fall three shots behind Saso. There were still only four players under par at this stage, with Shibuno still lurking on one-under.

Saso calmly rolled in another birdie putt on the 15th, her third birdie in her last four holes, to completely turn the tournament on its head. She led by two from Andrea Lee, and Minjee Lee was four shots behind now. Taking advantage of the shortened par-4 16th hole which was just 232 yards, Yaso made another birdie to reach five-under and extend her lead to three.

She suffered a scare on the par-3 17th hole. Saso rushed her first putt about 12 feet by, and her one coming back left a knee-knocker for bogey which she did make. Despite missing the green on the 72nd hole, Saso chipped and putted for a round of two-under, and a total of four-under.

Andrea Lee couldn’t take advantage of the short 16th hole. A par wasn’t enough to apply any pressure and a bogey on the 17th hole meant she fell three shots behind. Together with Shibuno, they gravitated from Saso’s reach and the young star became just the third player to make her first two LPGA Tour wins at major events.

Final leaderboard

-4 Y Saso

-1 H Shibuno

E A Ewing, A Lee

+1 A Yubol

+2 A Furue, A Thitikul, W Meechai

+3 R Takeda, S Koiwai, M Lee

Who had what to say at the US Women’s Open?

Yuka Saso (-4):

“I would like to thank the USGA for hosting another great event, and of course Lancaster Country Club, all the staff. Thank you so much. You guys came early to get this golf course to be this difficult. I really appreciate it.

“Obviously my caddie, as well, thank you so much. Appreciate all the patience and everything. My family. I wouldn’t be here without their support. Thank you so much if you guys are watching. To all the fans who came to support all of us, thank you so much. Appreciate all your support and hope to see you guys again soon.

“I just try to be very patient out there. I think that’s what you need to win a major like this. Just have fun playing with the playing partners and enjoy the challenge.”

Charley Hull (+3):

“Literally all my friends always say I should have a TV show with what goes on in my life. If you think I’ve got a lot of personality on the golf course, you should see what my life is like at home. But yeah, it is quite funny. I’m just me.

“You don’t know what’s coming out of my mouth next. I don’t know what’s coming out of my mouth next. It’s one of them things. I’m just me. I’m not going to change for the world. I’ll just be me, and people will either like it or lump it.

Andrea Lee (E):

“It was tough out there. Obviously didn’t have my best. Right from the start, I was pretty nervous, but yeah, I just didn’t have great shots out there. I had a couple of drives that really cost me, especially the double bogey on 4. But I tried to fight my way back, especially on the back nine, the bride on 12 I felt like I was still in it.

“I really grinded out there. I tried to come back, but it was tough. I just didn’t have my best today.”

Minjee Lee (+3)

“I think I did a lot of good things but obviously didn’t play very well today and I’m disappointed that I didn’t do better. Obviously I’m going to acknowledge my disappointment and then come back stronger, take the positives out of the week, you know.

“It’s a lot of pressure on the last day, so wasn’t my best performance but I’m sure there will be many better performances ahead.”

Shot of the day

It might not be spectacular, but this putt on the 12th hole began a run of four birdies in five holes which put one hand around the US Open trophy for Saso.

Considering the damage this par 3 had done in the week, a birdie two here was crucial.

Stat of the day

Saso broke 70 in three of her four rounds at Lancaster Country Club, including a final-round 68. Jason Sobel put her score on Sunday into context, when the vast majority of the field couldn’t go deep.

NOW READ: Fair or foul? Did the US Women’s Open course set up cross a line?

NOW READ: What is the US Women’s Open playoff format?

Another Yuka Saso US Open win! How impressive was that? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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