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Ardina advances, but Saso misses cut

MANILA, Philippines --Dottie Ardina charged back with a strong frontside finish to secure a one-under 70, ensuring her place in the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic now paced by Jenny Shina in Galloway, New Jersey Saturday (Sunday Manila time).

But Yuka Saso fell by the wayside a week after nailing her second US Women’s Open championship, rising to World No. 6 and securing an Olympic berth for Japan, unable to sustain an opening 69 with an erratic backside stint at the Seaview Bay course.

After a bogey-birdie combination on the front nine for a 37, she dropped two strokes on the par-3 11th and bogeyed the 13th. Her closing birdie was not enough to lift her standings, resulting in a 73 for a total of 142, missing the cut set at three-under 139.

Bianca Pagdanganan, set to lead the Philippines’ medal campaign in the Paris Games alongside Ardina, also failed to advance. Despite a strong 69 in the second round, she wound up with a 143 after a disappointing opening round of 74.

US-based Filipina Clariss Guce also missed the cut, ending with a 147 after a round of 75.

Ardina’s performance seemed shaky with a one-over on the back nine, but she rallied with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5, finishing with consistent 35s to secure her spot in the final round of the 54-hole championship, which offers a total prize money of $1.75 million.

She is tied for 37th at four-under 138, six strokes behind leader Shin, who posted a 69 for a total of 132, leading by one stroke over Swiss Albane Valenzuela, who carded a 68 for a 133.

In Michigan, Filipina golfers also faced challenges at the Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship. Pauline del Rosario narrowly missed the cut by one stroke in Battle Creek, despite advancing in the final round in her first six Epson Tour events.

She managed only one birdie against three bogeys and a double bogey, resulting in a 76 and a total of 148.

Tomi Arejola rebounded with a 70, including four birdies and two bogeys, but her total of 149 was not enough after a rough start. Abby Arevalo also showed improvement with a 74 following a 78, but finished far down the leaderboard with a 152.

Meanwhile, American Dana Fall took the lead with a 138 after scoring