LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Yuka Saso became a U.S. Women’s Open champion for the second time Sunday and took her place in history with a rare footnote — the first Filipino to win the Women’s Open in 2021, and now the first from Japan.

No matter the flag, the 22-year-old Saso delivered a masterful performance at Lancaster Country Club with a 2-under 68. She ran off a four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine amid a series of collapses and won without much drama.

Minjee Lee, who led by three shots on the front nine, came undone with a tee shot into the water on the par-3 12th the first of two double bogeys. Wichanee Meechai of Thailand took herself out of the picture early with a triple bogey.

Andrea Lee fell back with a double bogey and never caught up.

Saso wasn’t immune from mistakes. She had a four-putt double bogey on the par-3 sixth that left her four shots behind Minjee Lee. That was the last of the mistakes that mattered.

Her big run began with a 10-foot birdie putt on the 12th, followed by a wedge to 3 feet on the par-5 13th hole. She hit her approach to 6 feet on the 15th hole and then delivered the winner, a 3-wood to 20 feet on the reachable par-4 16th for a two-putt birdie.

Saso has said she wishes she could play for two flags — her mother is from the Philippines, her father from Japan. She decided to switch citizenship before turning 21, and Saso wound up leading a strong showing by Japan.

She won in a playoff at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. She won by three shots at Lancaster Country Club.


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