Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso keeps PHL medal hopes alive in 18th Asian Games women’s golf

JAKARTA—Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso faltered on the back nine but managed to shoot a three-under 69 on Saturday to keep herself and Team Philippines in the hunt for a medal in the 18th Asian Games women’s golf action on Saturday at the Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club on Saturday.

Saso was near flawless in the first nine holes where she birdied the first, fifth and fourth holes, but struggled on the way home with bogeys on the 14th and 16th before closing out with a birdie for a 209 aggregate of 209 in a tie for third with Thai Atthaya Thitikul, who also shot 69 for the day.

They trailed leader Liu Wenbo (67-205) China and were one behind another Chinese, Du Mohan, who slumped to a one-over 73 in the par-72, 6225-yard layout near the Indonesian capital’s business district.

Counting the score of teammate Bianca Pagdangan, who shot a 71 for a tie for eighth spot, the Filipino campaigners had a three-round 422 in third place, lurking just two shots behind the second-running South Koreans (420) and nine behind the frontrunning Chinese (413).

In the men’s division, Gao Weiwei collapsed with a five-over 77, dragging the Philippines with him in the team competition and virtually out of medal contention.

Running third entering the third round,  the 18-year-old Cebuano was unable to recover from a triple-bogey at No. 1, a par four, on the way to a three-over 39 then had two more bogeys to limp himself home.

Gao nosedived to a three-way tie at 18th spot with compatriot Lloyd Jefferson Go, who shot 71, and South Korean Jang Seungbo (72), with 54-hole tallies of 216, 10 shots back of Japanese leader Keith Nakajima, who tightened his grip on the gold with a steady two-under 70.

The Filipinos also fell to a tie for seventh place at 647 with Indonesia, a distant 21 shots from pacesetting Japan (626).

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