PH's Yuka Saso to complete unfinished business in Japan tilt
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino teen golfer Yuka Saso will be looking to extend her Asian domination when she tees it up in the 2019 Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) golf championship in Japan.
Establishing herself as one of the region's best with a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games, the 17-year-old will try to bag the WAAP crown she fell short of winning in the inaugural edition last year.
Saso came close to clinching the title after she forced her way into a 4-way playoff but a bogey on the second extra hole denied her victory as Thailand's Atthaya Thitikul prevailed.
"Even though I did not win, last year's WAAP was great fun too, and I felt that I learned a lot," said Saso, who has committed to the Georgia Bulldogs in the United States and plans to turn professional eventually.
Saso has been in terrific form of late, having finished outside the top 4 only once in her last 7 starts since November and heads to the WAAP as the third-highest ranked player in the field at world No. 30.
She is also coming off a successful title defense in the Philippine Ladies Open last month, but Saso was quick to downplay her recent success.
"I'm not so sure if I am playing my best golf at the moment but I'm happy with the way I'm playing right now," said Saso, who made 4 cuts in the 5 professional events she played in 2018.
"Of course, there's still a lot of things that I need to work on but what matters to me is I'm having fun."
It is not just Saso who will be part of the Philippine contingent in the WAAP.
Bianca Pagdanganan, who helped Saso and Lois Kaye Go win the team gold medal in the Asiad, will also see action in Japan with Abegail Arevalo, Clare Legaspi, Mikhaela Denise Fortuna and Francesca Bernice Olivares Llas.
Women's golf is enjoying a boom in the Philippines with 4 Filipino ladies ranked inside the top 100 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR).
The championship, which will be played at the Royal Golf Club from April 25-28, comprises of 15 players ranked inside the WAGR.
Host country Japan has the largest delegation with 8 players while Bangladesh, Guam, Vietnam, and Cook Islands – countries where the women's game is still in its infancy – will also see action.
The champion will earn a spot in two of the 5 women's majors – the AIG Women's British Open and the Evian Championship – and will also receive an invite to the 2020 Augusta National Women's Amateur. – Rappler.com