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NOTES & QUOTES – YUKA SASO WINS 2021 U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN

“Step aside Manny Pacquiao – the Philippines has a brand new sports hero.” – Rich Lerner on Yuka Saso

“What a comeback today, especially after getting off to a tough start with two double bogeys early. Perseverance was key.” – Morgan Pressel on Saso

“Olympic is still a haunted house. You really saw that U.S. Open pressure. The putts at 17 and 18 were just not very good at all.” – Rich Lerner on Lexi Thompson

“She looks like she could win seven, eight, nine times in a year when you watch her hit golf shots. But when you watch her on the greens, she always looks like she has a rattlesnake in her pocket. That’s tough to overcome.” – Chamblee on Thompson

Tomorrow – GOLF Channel Surrounds U.S. Open Final Qualifiers With 12 Hours of Coverage of “Golf’s Longest Day” Beginning at 7 a.m. ET

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 6, 2021 – NBC Sports concluded its 25-plus hours of comprehensive coverage of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open from The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., this evening.

Nineteen-year-old Yuka Saso (-4) won her first career U.S. Women’s Open championship, defeating Nasa Hataoka (-4) on the first sudden-death playoff hole following a two-hole aggregate playoff. Lexi Thompson bogeyed the final two holes to miss the playoff by one shot.

U.S. Women’s Open – Final Leaderboard

PlayerTotal
Yuka Saso-4*
Nasa Hataoka-4
Lexi Thompson-3
Shanshan Feng-2
Megan Khang-2

On Yuka Saso (-4, Champion)

Saso during post-round interview with Kay Cockerill: “Rory McIlroy mentioned me on Instagram and said, ‘Get that trophy.’ And I did – so thank you Rory.”

Rich Lerner: “Step aside Manny Pacquiao – the Philippines has a brand new sports hero.”

Tom Abbott: “A new star in the women’s game! A birdie to win – doing it in style.”

Morgan Pressel: “What a performance by her this week. What a comeback today especially, after getting off to a tough start with two double bogeys early. Perseverance was key.”

Brandel Chamblee: “She swings like Rory McIlroy, her putting stroke looks like a combination of Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw, but beyond that, her ability to keep her composure and her short game were brilliant…it’s her short game this week that really stood out and shocked me”

Paige Mackenzie: “This golf swing that had been so rhythmic and so pure was lost for the first several holes – but on the back nine, a different person showed up. Yuka remembered who she was…and when she gets short irons in her hand, what she’s done so well all week long is give herself birdie opportunities.”

On Lexi Thompson (-3, 3rd place)

Lerner: “Olympic is still a haunted house. Haunted for the favorites, that’s for sure…you really saw that U.S. Open pressure. We all feel for Lexi Thompson, no doubt about it – but the putts at 17 and 18 were just not very good at all.”

Pressel: “She just made a few too many mistakes coming down the stretch. Missing fairways at 11, 12, 14…coming up short (on her putts) on the last two holes…it looked like she was trying to be too perfect on the last hole.”

Pressel on her missed par putt on 17: “Just one of the worst strokes we’ve seen from Lexi all week…she knew it right away. She didn’t look committed.”

Lerner: “Did she buckle under the pressure?”

Pressel: “I think anyone would struggle to handle the pressure of a U.S. Open. The big lead on the back nine, we’ve seen it here at Olympic before.”

Chamblee: “When you have a weakness, it tends to show up under major pressure…she looks like she could win seven, eight, nine times in a year when you watch her hit golf shots. But when you watch her on the greens, she always looks like she has a rattlesnake in her pocket. That’s tough to overcome. When you’re as good a player as Lexi is, heartbreak comes with the territory…but the thing I can’t understand when I watch Lexi all these years is why she does not experiment more often with different ways to putt…it’s a glaring weakness and it’s clearly holding her back.”

Mackenzie: “There were so many good things today and that’s the perplexing part. Her great is really, really great. She has a skill set that other players don’t have. But it’s impossible to ignore the deficiency on the putting greens. The standard of which we measure her is mediocre…if she could figure out how to master to that, she would win a lot more trophies.”

Chamblee: “Her putt on the first hole, she missed the center of the putter by a half an inch. I’ve never seen a professional golfer miss the center of the putter by a wider margin than that…I don’t think she could have built a big enough lead to have felt comfortable, because when you miss the center of the face on the first hole of a major championship in the final round by that much, you think to yourself, ‘What just happened here? How short does the putt need to be?’”

***

TOMORROW – GOLF CHANNEL SURROUNDS U.S. OPEN FINAL QUALIFIERS WITH 12 HOURS OF COVERAGE OF “GOLF’S LONGEST DAY” BEGINNING AT 7 A.M. ET

GOLF Channel chronicles the path taken by thousands of golfers who dream of becoming U.S. Open champions, beginning June 7 with the return of “Golf’s Longest Day” on GOLF Channel, featuring live coverage and reports from U.S. Open Final Qualifying sites around the country.

Coverage begins at 7 a.m. ET, continues at noon ET, and resumes at 6 p.m. ET until final results, and the U.S. Open field is nearly completed at around midnight ET. GOLF Channel will feature interviews, analysis, highlights and scoring updates from nine U.S. Open Final Qualifying Sites in the U.S., as well as insight from experts located at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) – site of this month’s U.S. Open – and GOLF Channel studios in Stamford, Conn. Click here for more information.

--NBC SPORTS--