Yuka Saso hopes to ride the momentum of her impressive victory in a pro tournament as she joins the hunt in the Champion Infinity Philippine Ladies Open 2018 unfolding Jan. 10 at the Orchard Golf and Country Club’s Palmer Course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Saso humbled a tough international field at the ICTSI Ayala Greenfield Ladies Classic last Friday, scoring a wire-to-wire triumph in a victory that all but primed up the 16-year-old shotmaker from Canlubang Golf for the country’s premier ladies championship that drew the cream of the country’s amateur crop and a host of talented players from nine countries.
They include the crack Thailand side bannered by Onkanok Soisuwan, Pimkwan Chookaew, Kultida Pramphun, Phannarai Meesom-us and Pinkaew Trachuentong along with Indonesian Michela Tjan, Singapore’s Shannon Tan, Callista Chen and Hailey Loh and Hong Kong’s Hei Nam Leung.
With local aces Harmie Constantino, Sam Bruce, Tomi Arejola, Nicole Abelar, Kristine Torralba, Sophia Legaspi, Felicia Medalla, Annika Cedo and Junia Gabasa also in the fold, a three-day shootout looms in the event backed by Champion Infinity, Eva Air, San Miguel Corp., Metro Pacific, Atty. Gilberto Duavit, Inquirer, Alveo Land, G&W Clubshares, Inc., Crimson Hotel Filinvest and NGAP.
Still focus will be on Bianca Pagdanganan, who set a record 16-under 200 total to dominate the field, including Thai sensation Atthaya Thithikul and Saso, at Wack Wack’s West course last year.
But the reigning champion, who has moved from Gonzaga U to University of Arizona, expects a tougher challenge this week with the field toughened by recent Malaysian Juniors Open champion Mikha Fortuna and The Country Club teammates Sam Dizon, Laia Barro and Rafaella Singson.
Other supporters of the event are Golfer’s Club Shares, Inc., Province of Cavite, Luisita Golf and Country Club, Mileage Asia, Vermogen, Golf Depot, Orchard Golf and Country Club, Alabang Ladies Chapter, Forest Hills GCC, Tagaytay Highlands, Sta. Elena Golf Club, Manila Golf Club and Canlubang GCC with TIB Taishan and The Turf Company-Texas Eagle as hole-in-one sponsors.
The organizing Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines said aside from the centerpiece Open category, also on tap are competitions in Classes A and B, both tipped to likewise go down-to-the-wire.