Yuka Saso rules NEC Karuizawa 72 tourney to win first JLPGA championship

Yuka Saso saved her best for last as she conquered the NEC Karuizawa championship on Sunday in Kitasaku-gun, Negano Prefecture in Japan.

The Filipino-Japanese golfer delivered an eagle in the 16th hole en route to a phenomenal 9-under 63 on the final day of the 54-hole tournament, giving her a 16-under 200 and a four-stroke victory worthY14,400,000 (around P6.6 million)

Saso opened the tournament with a hot 7-under 65 spiked by seven birdies and no bogeys. She had to settle for an even par 72 on the second day for a 137 that was marred by a double-bogey on the fourth that put her a stroke off Mao Saigo for the lead.

But she proved unstoppable on day 3, going bogey-less while knocking down seven birdies to go with an eagle on the 16th that put her four shots ahead of Saito Fujita and Wakabayashi who both wound up tied for second. Saigo shot a final-day 70 to settle for fifth.

Saso thus became the first Filipina to win it all in the Japan LPGA.

At 17, Saso teamed up with Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Go and made history by ruling the women’s team event of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Saso refused to ease on the gas pedal in the Asiad. After the team event, she also delivered a gold in the individual event of the quadrennial spectacle.

Months after her Asiad conquest, she made her way to the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aries. She turned professional in 2019.

ESPN5’s Sid Ventura contributed to this report.

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