Filipino- Japanese golfer Yuka Saso has put the Philippines on the golfing map after finishing first at the 2021 iteration of the US Women’s Open held at the Olympic Club in San Francisco on Sunday, June 6 ( June 7, PH Time).
The 19-year old athlete triumphed over Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the third hole of a sudden playoff. She becomes the first Filipino player to win the prestigious tournament.
Saso credited her family for the win, who she said was the force behind her participation in the competition.
“I’d like to thank my family, I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said while tearing up.
“To all my sponsors and to all my friends and fans back in the Philippines and Japan, I’m so thankful,” she added.
In a press conference, Saso shared that it felt great to have the Filipino flag visible during the tournament.
“It felt great to see many people holding out Philippine flags. It made me really happy,” she shared.
According to Saso, she was upset after two consecutive bogeys in her first three holes, which she felt doomed her chances.
“Medyo nainis po ako n’on eh pero kinausap po ako ng caddie ko sabi niya ‘marami pang butas’ and ‘just keep trusting yourself,” she said. Saso revealed that this exchange gave her the motivation to push on and eventually win the 76th US Women’s Open.
In the interview, Saso also declared her interest in representing the Philippines in the Olympics, however, she noted that her focus will be on upcoming tournaments.
Watch the interview below!
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Image credit: Ezra Shaw via Getty Images