Yuka Saso wins 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship

Darren Carroll/PGA of America

Yuka Saso wins 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship

Junior

Yuka Saso wins 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship

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Yuka Saso of the Philippines came from behind on Friday to win the 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship in Hartford, Conn.

Rose Zhang was looking to go wire-to-wire and held a one-shot lead after three rounds but posted a final-round 73.

Saso shot a 67 and won by two strokes over Jensen Castle of West Columbia, S.C.

“Winning in the United States is really special,” said Saso in a statement released by the PGA of America. “It’s really hard to do since I live in Asia. I’m just really happy and thankful.”

Amari Avery of Riverside, Calif., finished third, three strokes back. Zhang finished T-4 with Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Fla. They were both five back.

“My goal this week was to play steady and have fun,” said Saso. “I think I did that well.”

Yuka Saso plays her tee shot at the 14th hole during the final round of the 2019 Girls Junior PGA Championship on July 12, 2019 in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo: Darren Carroll/PGA of America)

Saso is a two-time reigning Philippine Ladies Open champion. She’s also earned two gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games.

Castle, who will play at Kentucky this fall, said: “I’m extremely proud of how I played. I did not expect this, but I’ll take it.”

Amari Avery made a late charge on the back nine with birdies on Nos. 14 and 18. She also holed out for eagle on the par-4 16th as part of a final-round 63.

Pano’s Friday round was highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par-3 sixth. Using a pitching wedge from 127 yards, Pano made her second career ace.

With the victory, Saso earned the Patty Berg Trophy, presented to her by PGA of America president Suzy Whaley.

The win also earned her a spot in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, if she chooses to maintain her status.

“This will help me in many ways,” said Saso. “I’m really thankful for this experience.”

The Patty Berg trophy goes to the winner of the Girls Junior PGA Championship. (Photo: Darren Carroll/PGA of America)

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