May 27, 2024

The Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines took pride in saying 76th U.S. Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso grew with the premier jungolf institution in the country.

“She grew with us,” reads the new social media profile of the JGFP after the 19-year-old Saso clinched one of the five major championships of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour.

Saso, who pocketed $1 million, or more than P47 million for her win, is the first Filipino to win in LPGA Tour championship and also the second teenager U.S. Women’s Open, next to Inbee Park, who won the same major tour in 2008  at 19 years, 11 months, 17 days.

Saso’s win has also inspired countless Filipino jungolfers, including JGFP alumnus Paolo Luigi Wong of La Trinidad, Benguet, to believe and never give up on their dreams to become world champions in the future.

The victory, which also caught the attention of some of the world’s famous golfers such as former world’s number one, Irishman Rory Mcllroy, whom Saso patterned her swing, has also inspired parents to let their kids play golf at a young age.

At 17 years old, Saso won an individual gold in the 2018 Asian Games. She also teamed up with fellow LPGA player Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go for another gold in the team event. The double gold medal was a history for the Philippines.

In Baguio, the Fil-Am Foundation is offering bright future for young golfers through the Fil-Am Junior Golf Tournament, which debuted in 2019 at the Baguio Country Club and Camp John Hay.

Less than a hundred junior golfers with dozens from Baguio and Benguet participated and won trophies during the tournament. The second Fil-Am Jungolf was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. – Harley F. Palangchao