Read the full story on SportsLook - Saki Baba Earns JLPGA Tour Card with a Second-Place Finish in Final Test
Teen golf phenom Saki Baba earned her JLPGA Tour card for 2024 with a second-place finish at the final qualifying tournament on Friday, November 3 at the Seto Inland Sea Golf Course in Okayama Prefecture. The 18-year-old amateur shot a final-round 70 to finish five shots behind winner Minami Kiyomoto.
Baba finished the four-round event with a 12-under total of 276 and was under par each day, highlighted by a 6-under 66 on Thursday. She tied for second with Kanako Ishida in the competition that featured some 101 players at the start.
Baba, who won the US Women's Amateur Championship in August 2022 in dominating fashion at Chambers Bay outside Tacoma, Washington, carded three birdies against one bogey to finish seven shots ahead of the qualifying cutoff of 5-under on Friday.
"The shots didn't go as I expected like yesterday," Baba stated after her last round, according to Golf Digest Online. "When I came here for the first time to practice, the greens were suffering from the heat, but that was finished in a short period of time. It is thanks to everyone at the golf course that I was able to play like this."
The top 19 finishers (including ties) qualified for their JLPGA Tour cards. This year 21 women achieved their goal. Another seven players came excruciatingly close to making it, coming up just one stroke short at 4-under.
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Author: Jack Gallagher
The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.