Japan’s Yuka Yasuda secured an emphatic victory at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, leaving the field in her wake at The Royal Golf Club in Japan today.
The chasing Australians were no match to the local star, with a final-round seven-under 65 lifting the champion to 11 under, booking her tickets to two majors – the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship – and a spot at the 2020 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
After reeling off five birdies in her opening nine, Yasuda was in a class of her own, finishing with an incredible eight-shot buffer over defending champion Attaya Thitikul.
Queensland’s Becky Kay started the day four back at even par, but was unable to find the same form from her record-breaking eight-under opening round.
The Gold Coaster came unstuck early today with bogies on five and nine followed by a rollercoaster back nine, eventually signing for a three-over-par 75 and a share of seventh.
But the ever-beaming 20-year-old was pleased with her week, knowing she returns home with a top-10 finish and plenty of experience.
“Coming seventh in a tournament where there are the best players in the world, I am stoked,” the QAS athlete said.
“I know that I definitely left a few shots out there today. I could have done a lot better on the second day, but that happens.
“The course was definitely `getable' – Yuka had seven under, so it was totally getable.
“Being in contention and all of the media at the event, I’m always just learning.”
Australia’s highest-ranked player, Grace Kim, couldn’t keep the momentum going from yesterday’s low round, slipping to a share of 12th at six over.
A pair of closing 69s for fellow Sydneysiders Steph Kyriacou and Doey Choi elevated the duo to T22, capping a frustrating but rewarding week.
“I hit it really good all week, so to get the putts in (today) was really good,” Kyriacou said.
“The last few days I was lipping out heaps and it was getting a bit frustrating, but I'm happy with today.”
Choi was equally upbeat.
“I think the course was playing a little easier than the last two days, it was very scorable,” she said.
“It’s been a great experience.”
Victorian Julienne Soo ended the week on a high with a two-under-par 70, lifting the Oklahoma University star into a share of 32nd.
Western Australia’s Maddison Hinson-Tolchard saved her best until last, rolling in four birdies in her outward nine to finish tied 40th.
1st – Yuka Yasuda (JAP) -11 (71-74-67-65)
T7 – Becky Kay +3 (64-79-74-75)
T12 – Grace Kim +6 (70-81-66-77)
T22 – Steph Kyriacou +9 (73-78-77-69)
T22 – Doey Choi +9 (72-81-75-69)
T32 – Julienne Soo +12 (72-83-75-70)
T40 – Maddison Hinson-Tolchard +17 (72-85-78-70)