Uka Saso found the going rough battling windy conditions in the afternoon and carded a one-over par 73 but still held on to a share of the girls 15-17 years division lead with American Yui Kawamato after the second round Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) of the IMG Academy Junior World Championships at the La Costa Resort and Spa Legends course in Carlsbad, California.
Saso, competing here just for the second time, could only produce a single birdie on the par-5 12th against two bogeys compared to her eight-birdie 68 start and was lucky to have remained on top with Kawamato, the San Diego native who took advantage of the calmer winds in the morning with a four-under 68, at 141 through 36 holes.
The 15-year-old Saso, however, appeared to be the only one among the 35 players in the Philippine contingent sponsored by Philippine Airlines left with a chance for a victory as those playing in the 54-hole lower divisions fell too far behind to contend.
Bernice Ilas made the biggest move among the PH bets with a two-under 70 to barge into the top 10 from 26th in the girls 13-14 years competition at The Country Club in Rancho Bernardo. But with a 144 total after an opening 74, the former 7-8 years division winner was still 11 shots behind Riona Higa of Japan, who shot 68-133, going to the final round.
Coco Ong was the best-placed PH bet at solo sixth in the girls 6 years and under.