By Waylon Galvez
Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso shot a one-under 71 on Saturday but remained at joint 10th going into the final 18 holes of the Earth Mondahmin Cup now paced by Mizuka Tanaka at the Camellia Hills Country Club in Chiba, Japan.
The double gold medal winner of the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games was doing great guns early, taking a two-under card after eight holes.
But she had a roller-coaster ride in the next six holes with two bogeys against a birdie. She could have posted a better score if not for missed birdie chances the rest of the way.
Instead, she stands six shots off Tanaka at 211. She is tied with Mone Inami (69), Haruda Kudo (72), Sakura Koiwai (71), Mao Nozawa (72), Tsugumi Miyazaki (71) and Ritsuko Ryu (70).
Tanaka, on the other hand, turned in a 70 for a 54-hole aggregate of 205, enough to keep her three-shot lead, this time over the pair of Ayaka Furue and Mao Saigo, who posted 66 and 67, respectively, for 208s.
Miki Sakai carded a 68 to force a four-way tie at fourth at 209 with Reika Usui, who shot a 70, and Al Suzuki and Ayaka Watanabe, who both shot 71s.
In joint eight at 210 are Nana Suganuma and Momoka Osato.
Out to rebound from a dismal 74 in the second round, Saso birdied the par-5 opening hole but bogeyed the next then snapped a run of pars with back-to-back birdies from No. 7, sparking hopes for another explosive round.
It did not happen though as she bogeyed the par-3 ninth.