Saso, Philippines stay in medal hunt

JAKARTA – Yuka Saso shot a second straight 69 and zeroed in on a medal finish while keeping Team Philippines in third in the penultimate round of golf competitions now dominated by the Chinese at the Pondok Indah Golf Course here yesterday.

Saso actually built her three-under card at the front with birdies on Nos. 1, 5 and 9, went four-under with another birdie on the 13th but fell back with two bogeys in the next three. But she checked her shaky backside finish with a birdie on the last hole, her 69 netting a 54-hole total of seven-under 209 in a tie with Thai ace Atthaya Thithikul.

The duo stood just a stroke off Chinese Du Mohan, who pooled a 208 after a 73 for second while compatriot Liu Wenbo fired a 67 for a 205 and pulled away by three heading to the final 18 holes of the event.

With Bianca Pagdanganan shooting a 71, the Phl assembled a 140 for a 422 total, keeping its spot at third in team play, three ahead of fourth running Japan (425) but just two behind No. 2 Korea (138-420). China has virtually clinched the women’s gold with a 19-under 413 aggregate after a 140.

Rupert Zaragosa finally hit his stride after forgettable 77 and 73 as he blistered with a five-under 67 but his effort went for naught as erstwhile contender Weiwei Gao bombed with a 77. Lloyd Go carded a 71 for the team’s 215 output and a 54-hole total of 647 and out of the medal race.

Gao, tied for third in individual play after two rounds, tumbled to joint 20th with Go at 216.