Yuka Saso toughs out a second U.S. Women’s Open victory, claiming this unique double in the process

June 3, 2024

The only one of the three co-leaders who staved off total disaster was American Andrea Lee, the former world amateur No. 1, who still lost four strokes in a rough front nine, but rallied to get a shot back with a birdie at 12. Standing on the 17th tee four pars later, she still had a faint prayer of catching Saso, who did her a favor with a bogey on 17. But Lee sprayed her tee shot into the greenside bunker, Saso hit an excellent chip to secure par on 18, Lee failed to hole out from the bunker, and the tournament was effectively over. (Andrea Lee bogeyed the last to finish at even and cede the million dollar-plus payday to Hinako Shibuno, who made it a 1-2 punch for Japan with a backdoor runner-up.)

“I was extremely nervous, but I feel like I learned a lot about how to control my emotions out here,” Lee said. “I feel like this is only going to make me stronger in the long run and give me some confidence going into the rest of the season.”

It’s almost hard to believe, but at 25, Lee is three years older than Saso, whose résumé and bearing on the course make her seem much more seasoned than her 22 years. She’s now the youngest player in history to win the U.S. Women’s Open twice, and for this title, she credited her accurate driver and the Odyssey putter she switched to last October. For someone so young, it hasn’t been many years since she was a young girl taking shadow swings in front of her mirror before school in the morning, but she’s also old enough to admit that she had doubts about whether she’d ever win again (amazingly, the two U.S. Opens are Saso’s only LPGA Tour victories).

The tears at the trophy presentation were tears of joy, but also tears of relief—no, she hadn’t peaked in her teens, and there are triumphs still to come. The women’s golf world came into this week talking about Nelly Korda, and the world No. 1 deserved every bit of it. But now is a great time to spare a few words for Yuka Saso, the queen of the Lancaster carnage.