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Fiery Saso ends strong, Pagdanganan slips in final Olympic golf race

Bianca Pagdanganan watches her first hole attempt in the third round of her Tokyo Games golf campaign. AFP
By Ozzy Alaba

MANILA (UPDATED) — While one blazed atop, the other one fell deep.

Yuka Saso sizzled late for a strong ending, while Bianca Pagdanganan tripped further in their 2020 Tokyo Olympics women’s individual golf campaign finale at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, Saturday.

After starting her Olympiad debut in 47th place, the Bulacan native drilled a red-hot six-under par 65 in the deciding round to end her run in a modest joint ninth place with a 10-under par 274 aggregate.

RELATED STORY: Bianca Pagdanganan off to solid start, Yuka Saso struggles in Olympic golf opener

The reigning US Women's Open queen displayed her flair on premium in clutch time, beginning her back nine fightback by birdying holes 12, 13, and 14.

She then continued her late ballistic firing with an eagle in the four-par 17th hole, and notched a wrap-up birdie in the closing hole to try overturning a rough three-over 74 first-canto output.

But the 20-year-old's supposed comeback just dimmed rapidly.

The Filipina-Japanese's pursuit fell short on Nelly Korda, Mone Inami, and Lydia Ko’s podium battle as she trailed by three strokes for bronze upon capping her last hole, eventually missing out a medal snag despite netting three-under 68 and four-under 67 in her two previous rounds, successively.

RELATED STORY: Yuka Saso continues resurgence, Bianca Pagdanganan slips late in Olympic golf R3

Saso, however, had a rocky prelude after a fourth-hole bogey, but she quickly recovered with a Hole 5 birdie, setting up a fiery burst afterwards.

Meanwhile, Pagdanganan chipped a three-over par 74 to clip her maiden Olympic stint at a bitter joint 43rd spot on a one-over par 285 outing, slipping 14 ranks below her third round standings.

Despite showing a brilliant opening round performance by briefly leading the pack, Bianca was marred with miscalculations until the fourth frame and never found her groove from there.

The older golfer bogeyed right off the bat, but sank an eighth-hole birdie to make up for the error.

Nonetheless, her endgame went disastrous after hitting a no. 12 bogey and a double-bogey ender which erased her plum-winning hopes as time expired.

Elsewhere, Korda nabbed gold with her 17-under-par 269 submission, just a point above silver and bronze medalists Inami and Ko, respectively.

In spite of going home without medals in hand, Yuka and Bianca will still receive P500,000 in cash incentives from MVP Sports Foundation.

RELATED STORY: MVP Sports Foundation pledges Php500K to Olympic non-medalists

Follow him on Twitter: @English4Lyf

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