It will be high drama when teen golf phenom Saki Baba tees off for the sixth and final round of the LPGA Q-Series on Wednesday morning, December 6 at Magnolia Grove in Mobile, Alabama. The young star currently sits one shot below the cut line in her bid to gain her LPGA Tour card for 2024.
Baba, a Tokyo native, who has already earned her JLPGA Tour card for next year, shot a 3-under par 69 on Tuesday and has a five-day total of 351, which is 10 shots behind leader So Mi Lee of South Korea.
The 18-year-old Baba needs to finish in the top 45 to earn her LPGA card. If she places in the top 20 in the final standings, she would receive more preferential treatment for tournament entries next year.
Baba has been at or under par in four of the five rounds played thus far in the United States, but will likely have to shoot in the 60s in the last round to make the cut for card qualification. She will tee off at 8:14 AM Wednesday (10:14 PM JST) in a threesome with Nichole Estrup of Denmark and Pauline Del Rosario of the Philippines.
Saki Baba Shares Thoughts on the Tournament
Baba carded four birdies against just one bogey on Tuesday and admitted she was playing on the edge throughout the round.
"There were quite a few places where I made some dangerous putts today," Baba was quoted as saying after the round by Golf Digest Online. "It can't be helped."
Baba, who has been in the spotlight since her stunning victory at the US Women's Amateur Championship in August 2022, knows what is on the line Wednesday.
"I want to improve even a little in practice after today and play with a strong feeling tomorrow," Baba commented. "There is only one round left, so I want to do my best to finish the fight so I don't have any regrets."
Author: Jack Gallagher
The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.