Yuka Saso wins the US Women's Open title for the second time

Yuka Saso made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to win her second U.S. Women's Open title on Sunday, making her the first Japanese golfer to win two golf majors.

The 22-year-old Philippine-born Saso, who already won the 2021 major, overcame a three-stroke deficit she had at the start of the day with a score of 2-under-par 68 for a total of 4-under-par 276, three strokes ahead of second-placed Hinako Shibuno, also of Japan.

Saso had five birdies, a bogey and a double bogey in her final round at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania.

Yuka Saso of Japan plays a shot during the final round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on June 2, 2024. (Kyodo)

Long-shot Saso made birdies on holes 12, 13, 15 and 16 before bogeying hole 17 and finishing with a par to collect the winner's check for $2.4 million.

Saso said she “tried to be very patient” throughout the round due to the difficult pin placement, adding: “That's what it takes to win a major like this.”

“When I won in 2021, I represented the Philippines. I feel like I was able to give back to my mom,” Saso said. “This year, I was able to represent Japan, and I think I was able to give back to my dad, so I'm very happy that I was able to do that. It's just a wonderful feeling that I was able to give back to my parents in the same way.”

Saso shared the lead with Australia's Minjee Lee with a birdie on the par-3 12th hole. She then took sole control of the lead by hitting her third shot from 73 yards to 3 feet, earning her another birdie on the par-5 13th hole.

Japan's Yuka Saso holds up the 2024 U.S. Women's Open championship trophy at the Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on June 2, 2024. (Kyodo)

Shibuno scored a 72, putting him one stroke ahead of the fast-moving Ally Ewing (66) and Andrea Lee (75), both from the USA, who shared third place in the tournament with even par.

“This is an unlikely result given the way I've played (over the last few months),” said the 25-year-old Shibuno, who has missed the cut in six of her nine starts on the U.S. LPGA Tour this year.

“From here I can start anew. I am very positive.”

Japan's Hinako Shibuno (facing camera) and her Thai playing partner Wichanee Meechai celebrate on the 18th green during the final round of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament on June 2, 2024, at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. (Getty/Kyodo)

Arpichaya Yubol led a trio of Thai players into the top 10 by finishing alone in fifth place at 1 over par.

Three other Japanese players made it into the top 10: Ayaka Furue tied for sixth place at 2 over par and Rio Takeda and Sakura Koiwai tied for ninth place, one stroke behind.

Third-round co-leader Minjee Lee was atop the leaderboard at the turn, but the two-time major winner slipped to ninth place after losing six strokes on the back nine.

Saso also became the third player in US LPGA Tour history, following South Koreans Pak Se Ri and Chun In Gee, to win her first two career major championships.

When Saso won the 2021 US Women's Open, she tied South Korean Park In Bee as the youngest winner in the event's history at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days.

Three other Japanese have won major championships. Hisako Higuchi won the 1977 LPGA Championship, Shibuno won the 2019 Women's British Open, and male golfer Hideki Matsuyama won the 2021 Masters Tournament.

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