yuka saso
Filipina golfer Yuka Saso bags her first win in the JLPGA tournament. (File Photo)

If it were basketball, Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso would have surely taken the last shot, or delivered during penalty situation in football, or scored a home run with two strikes on her in the ninth inning of a tied baseball game.

She would have buried the game-winning jump shot like Michael Jordan, or sent home the penalty kick like Cristiano Ronaldo, or hit a run-scoring line drive the way Derek Jeter did.

Like these legendary athletes, Saso knows what it takes to win with the ‘game’ on the line.

At 19-years-old, Saso is showing the world she has these qualities following her second straight title in the Japan LPGA Tour when she bagged the Nitori Ladies championship last Sunday at the Otaru Country Golf Club in Hokkaido, Japan.

Saso shot a one-under par 71 on the final round to win by two strokes against Sakura Koiwai in a thrilling finish.

“I did not look at the leaderboard. I don’t even know my score,” said Saso. “I’m fighting for the championship. There were too many things to think and do with my own game.

“Golf is a game, concentration matters. Rather than being aware of the opponent, I went on my way without thinking of them.”

Saso’s goal was right before her.

“I’m aiming for a birdie in all holes because if I make a slight mistake, I would still have a chance for a par or bogey at worse.”

A rookie in the Japan Tour, Saso pocketed P16.5 million. And for winning a second consecutive title, she joined Ai Suzuki of Japan and Shin Jie and Lee Bo-Mee of Korea as the only successive winners in the circuit.

“I’m happy that I’ve achieved the same thing as theirs,” said Saso, who bagged the NEC Karuizawa Tournament early this month.

A multi-gold medalist in the 2018 Asian Games, Saso started the final round with a one-shot lead. But a double bogey on 2 allowed Koiwai to grab the upper hand.

Saso birdied on 4 – one of five in the final round as she also buried birdies on 6, 7, 9 and 12 as well – while Koiwai had a bogey-birdie on 3 and 4 that gave them share of the lead.

Saso’s birdie on 6 gave her a one-shot lead, which she never relinquished.

Although she made bogeys on 11 and 15, Koiwai’s bogeys on 15 and 16 extended Saso’s lead to three.

Saso finished 13-under for the tournament with a four-day total of 275, while Koiwai had 277, followed by Mikashima Kana, Yu Hamada and Lee Chihime of South Korea all at 285 for third to fifth places.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/31/with-steely-resolve-akin-to-sports-legends-yuka-saso-forces-japan-to-take-noti/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=with-steely-resolve-akin-to-sports-legends-yuka-saso-forces-japan-to-take-noti)