YUKA Saso's bid for a third straight title in the Japan Ladies Golf Tour hit an early bump when a one-under par 71 on Friday left her well off the pace in the 2020 Golf 5 Ladies Professional golf tournament.
The 19-year-old Filipino-Japanese made a birdie and an eagle against two early bogeys at the Country Mizunami Course but still found herself six shots adrift of solo Japanese leader Rumi Yoshiba who assembled a round of 65.
Yoshiba took a one-shot lead over compatriot Mizuki Tanaka. In solo third at five-under 67 was Yamashita Miyu with two days left in the tournament that offers a total purse of 60 million yen.
Shooting 68s were Yoshikawa Momo, Minami Ebisu, Mayu Wakui, Sai Pay-In, Eri Okayama, Mikashima, Fukuda Mami and Sakura Koiwai.
Two successive victories in her first three tournaments made Saso a celebrity in Japan, but she admitted the Country Mizunami Course doesn't suit her eye.
"It's a type that I don't have much (experience) in overseas. I can't see the green from the teeing ground. I'm not used to it,” Saso told the JLPGA website. “So maybe a win isn't good enough. I'm thinking about it right now. There are times like this.”