Japan’s Yuka Yasuda secured an emphatic victory at the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific, leaving the field in her wake at The Royal Golf Club in Japan.
The chasing Australians were no match to the local star, with a final-round seven-under 65 lifting the champion to 11 under, booking her tickets to two majors – the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship – and a spot at the 2020 Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
After reeling off five birdies in her opening nine, Yasuda was in a class of her own, finishing with an incredible eight-shot buffer over defending champion Attaya Thitikul.
Queensland’s Becky Kay started the day four back at even par, but was unable to find the same form from her record-breaking eight-under opening round.
The Gold Coaster came unstuck early on Sunday, with bogies on five and nine followed by a rollercoaster back nine, eventually signing for a three-over-par 75 and a share of seventh.
But the ever-beaming 20-year-old was pleased with her week, knowing she returns home with a top-10 finish and plenty of experience.
“Coming seventh in a tournament where there are the best players in the world, I am stoked,” Kay said.
“I know that I definitely left a few shots out there today. I could have done a lot better on the second day, but that happens.
“The course was definitely getable – Yuka had seven under, so it was totally getable.
“Being in contention and all of the media at the event, I’m always just learning.”
Australia’s highest-ranked player, Grace Kim, couldn’t keep the momentum going from Saturday’s low round, slipping to a share of 12th at six over.
A pair of closing 69s for fellow Sydneysiders Steph Kyriacou and Doey Choi elevated the duo to T22, capping a frustrating but rewarding week.
“I hit it really good all week, so to get the putts in was really good,” Kyriacou said.
“The last few days I was lipping out heaps and it was getting a bit frustrating, but I'm happy with today.”
Choi was equally upbeat.
“I think the course was playing a little easier than the last two days, it was very scorable,” she said.
“It’s been a great experience.”
Victorian Julienne Soo ended the week on a high with a two-under-par 70, lifting the Oklahoma University star into a share of 32nd.
Western Australia’s Maddison Hinson-Tolchard saved her best until last, rolling in four birdies in her outward nine to finish tied 40th.
-Kirsty Wrice, Golf Australia