By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Yuka Saso bucked a slow start to salvage a one-under par 70 and finish tied for fourth place in the Cognizant Founders Cup in West Caldwell, New Jersey Sunday (Monday in Manila).
The reigning US Open champion stumbled with a double bogey on the par-4 third hole, recovered a bit with a birdie on the 8th but closed out her frontnine with a bogey.
Good thing, she birdied the 11th, 13th and 15th holes to finish with a 274, eight strokes behind runaway winner Jin Young Ko of South Korea who closed out with a 66 for a 266 total.
Saso’s fourth place finish was a marked improvement from last week’s ShopRite LPGA where she finished tied for 19th.
The Filipino Tokyo Olympian, who shot 67, 70 and 60 in the first three rounds, wound up tied with Korean Jeongeun Lee and pocketed $138,664 each (roughly P7 million).
Ko, the world No. 2, highlighted her round with six birdies against a bogey five to finish four shots ahead of Germany’s Caroline Masson who sizzled with a 64.
American Elizabeth Szokol settled for third – three shots farther back at 273.
Meanwhile, Dottie Ardina posted a fourth-round 69 to finish at joint 33rd with a 3-under 281.
Ardina could have fared better if not for a double-bogey on the par-5 eighth hole but made five birdies against a lone bogey on No. 4.
She had earlier rounds of 71, 70 and 71 to pocket $17,756 (around P900,000)