July 23, 2024

■  Harley F. Palangchao

Filipino Japanese professional golfer Yuka Saso’s historic win in the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open at the Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania has inspired anew budding golfers not only in two countries, but also in the whole world.

Saso, 22, won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2021 representing the Philippines, and now the first from Japan to win the biggest golf event for women in the world.

U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN CHAMPION — Filipino Japanese Yuka Saso golfer hoisted the silver Semple Trophy after winning the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open to become a two major champion, the first for Japan and the Philippines. — LPGA photo

For her feat, she brought home a whopping $2.4 million, or an estimate of over P140M, from the total of $12M purse, the largest in women’s golf and in women’s sports at a standalone venue, according to international wire reports.

The victory also put her in a position to represent Japan in the 2024 Paris Olympics, after representing the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics.

She finished 9th in the women’s indivi-dual event in 2021.

To recall, Saso together with now professional golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go caught the golfing community by surprise when they won the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games in the women’s team event.

Saso also won a gold medal in the individual event to become the first Asian Games gold medalist for the Philippines in the women’s event.

Since winning her first major in 2021, Saso continues to build a strong following among young golfers in Asia, especially in the Philippines and Japan.

She was adopted honorary member by the Baguio Country Club, one of the local clubs that is aggressively supporting junior golfers in the country.

In 2022, Saso officially announced she will represent Japan in future tournaments.