Saso learning the ropes – win or lose

Saso learning the ropes – win or lose

MANILA, Philippines — While she grappled with her driver majority of the way, Yuka Saso said it was her tussle with her putter in the last two rounds that stymied her first crack at a major championship in the LPGA of Japan Tour.

The stats told it all.

After an impressive 26-putt stint in her opening 68 and another 28 in the next kept her just two strokes off the pace in the rich Japan LPGA Championship in Okayama, Saso lost her focus and touch on the undulating, tricky surface of the JFE Setonaikai Golf Club course in the pivotal third round, flubbing putts that she normally makes.

The two-leg JLPGA winner blew it all when it mattered most – hobbling with 34 putts in the last 18 holes.

Consequently, she turned from a major contender into a minor competitor the rest of the way, tumbling from joint second to a share of 13th in the circuit’s first major event ruled by Sakl Nagamine.

“I sometimes got frustrated when I read the putting line differently,” said the Fil-Japanese, referring to the crucial third round where she blew at least six makeable birdie putts, including two inside four feet.

“But that’s golf,” she added. “Even if you’re depressed, you don’t have to show it. The season is still long.”