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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Saso eyes better LPGAcampaign in new season

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YUKA SASO vowed for a better performance in the coming Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) as she braces for a challenging campaign given the ever-improving level of competition in the world’s premier ladies circuit.

Saso made history with a major breakthrough in the US Women’s Open in 2021 but didn’t seem to impress in 2022.

She remained positive though.

“It’s [2022] been good. It’s my first whole year in the LPGA. It meant a lot,” Saso said. “I learned a lot about great golfers.”

With just one runner-up effort at the LPGA Mediheal last October with four other top 12 finishes in 26 tournaments and marred by seven missed cuts—including three in the majors—things didn’t look good for the International Container Terminal Services Inc.-backed ace, who showed a lot of promise when she beat the best at the US Women’s Open via playoff over Nasa Hataoka.

Saso is eager to resume her campaign starting next month in Florida stronger and a lot wiser and still armed with that “enjoy, have fun, think positive” mindset.

“I’m very excited for next year. I will not forget having fun playing golf. I appreciate all the help,” said Saso, whose LPGA buildup also got a shot in the arm by tying up with Federal Land Inc. the other day.

She also admitted to have been inspired by the youngsters, seven of whom took part in a mini-golf clinic she conducted after signing up with country’s premier real estate developer and gracing the opening of the first-ever Mitsukoshi Mall in the country at the Grand Central Park in North Bonifacio Global City last Tuesday.

“It’s still 50-50…I inspire them but they also inspire me,” she said. “Hopefully, I can continue doing those stuff in the future.”

There’s actually no need for her to reinvent following her mediocre 2022 campaign but to re-calibrate and she hopes to reach her competitive level in time for her first event—the Tournament of Champions from January 19 to 22 in Orlando, Florida.

She placed sixth in Orlando and wound up third in the Gainbridge LPGA but those strong starts had failed to fuel her drive for top honors the rest of the season, falling short by one to England’s Jodi Shadoff in the LPGA Mediheal.

The next two LPGA events in 2023 are set in Southeast Asia—Honda LPGA Thailand from February 23 to 26 and Women’s World Championship in Singapore from March 2 to 5—before the Tour heads to China for the Blue Bay LPGA from March 9 to 12.

“After the T-of-C, I’m not sure yet especially if we have any event in Asia because of Covid, everything is unpredictable, so hopefully I can get a schedule as soon as I can,” Saso said. “It’s understandable, because of Covid.”

Image credits: AP

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