TURNING THE GOLDEN DREAM TO REALITY: GET TO KNOW YUKA SASO
As our Team Philippines continues its quest for the much-anticipated Olympic gold medal in the ongoing 2021 Tokyo Olympics, let us delve deeper behind the youngest among the country's 19 delegates—Yuka Saso.
Saso etched her name in Philippine sporting history when she ruled the United States Women’s Open last June in San Francisco, California, becoming the country’s first major championship winner and securing her spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
Her feat was celebrated by Filipino fans as she won the prestigious golfing tournament at the young age of 19 years old, putting her among the expected gold medal contenders for this year’s Summer Games.
Where it started
The Filipino-Japanese golfer fell in love with the sport as a child and aspired to be a professional golfer after seeing a golf tournament for the first time.
When she was nine years old, she competed in her first golf competition and represented the Philippines in an international tournament for the first time during the 2011 US Kids golf tournament. Saso also participated in the 2014 ASEAN School Games in Marikina.
Chasing the Goal-d
Bagging gold medals are no stranger to Saso as she clinched back-to-back gold during the 2018 Asian Games golf tournament.
She has several titles under her belt, including the 2018 Philippine Ladies Open, the top women’s golf tournament in the country, the 2016 World Junior Girls Championship, and the Philippine Junior Amateur tournaments in 2016 and 2017.
Saso made the switch to professional golf in 2020 in the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and captured two titles in her rookie season.
Acing the swing
Saso is one of three golfers who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, along with veteran Juvic Pagunsan and Bianca Pagdanganan, with the goal of bringing home our first-ever gold medal.
With Japan hosting the games, Saso will enjoy a distinct home-court advantage as she played in the Olympic golf venue at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.
“I actually already played there, the golf course was really good. They changed everything, and it’s all in good condition,” she said.
Currently ranked at World No. 8, Saso will begin her campaign on August 4 to 7 at 6:30 a.m.