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Japan’s Saki Baba wins US Women’s Amateur in blowout

UNIVERSITY PLACE (AP) – Saki Baba routed Monet Chun of Canada 11 and nine on Sunday to become the second Japanese winner in United States (US) Women’s Amateur history.

The 17-year-old Baba won the last six holes, ending the match with a birdie on the par-3 27th hole at Chambers Bay.

“It’s just amazing. I just can’t believe it,” Baba said through a translator. “I was able to (play) my kind of golf. Yeah, everything just went smoothly.”

Baba joined 1985 champion Michiko Hattori as the only Japanese winners.

“If she made a mistake, lost a hole, it woke her up and she bounced right back,” said Baba’s Chambers Bay caddie Beau Brushert. “She didn’t let it get her down. She’s amazing.

She’s a lot of fun to watch.” Baba was one of four amateurs to make the cut in the US Women’s Open at Pine Needles, tying for 49th. She shared medallist honours and reached the round of 32 in the US Girls’ Junior at The Club at Olde Stone.

The margin matched the third-largest in a 36-hole final in the event. Anne Quast Sander set record in 1961, beating Phyllis Preuss 14 and 13. Glenna Collett beat Virginia Van Wie 13 and 12 in 1928, and Babe Didrikson Zaharias routed Clara C Sherman 11 and 9 in 1946.

Baba played 106 match-play holes, tied for the second fewest by a champion since 1973, matching Morgan Pressel (2005) and behind only Carolyn Hill (103) in 1979.

Saki Baba poses with the trophy. PHOTO: AP
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