Filipino-Japanese teen golfer Yuka Saso puts the Philippines on the golfing map as she wins the 76th US Women’s Open Championship at the Olympic Club in San Francisco on Sunday.
Pumping her fist and smiling when she nailed a 10-foot birdie putt, the 19-year-old is the first Filipino player to win a golf major and the second teenager to bag the title. (Read: After Historic Win, Nonito Donaire Is Back as World Champion)
“I’d like to thank my family, I wouldn’t be here without them,” she said through tears. “To all my sponsors and to all my friends and fans back in the Philippines and Japan, I’m so thankful.”
Saso bounced back from two early double bogeys and bested Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the third hole of a sudden-death playoff. (Read: Triathlete Vanj Endaya Shares Her Fitness Routine Amid Lockdown)
“I was actually upset,” Saso said about the two double bogeys in her first three holes, which seemed to doom her chances.
“My caddie talked to me and said there are still many holes to go and to keep doing what I’ve been doing the past few days,” she said. “And to trust the process.”
Saso’s win came after the collapse of 26-year-old Lexi Thompson. The popular American, who was playing in her 15th U.S. Women’s Open, could only manage a four-over 75 on Sunday. (Read: Exclusive Interview With Pinoy Basketball Legend, Ramon Fernandez)
Thompson, who on Saturday said she had been working on taking a more positive mindset to the game, said it was hard to smile but added that it was “an amazing week.”
“I played not so well today with a few of the bogeys coming in on the back nine, but the fans were unbelievable, hearing the chants gives me a reason to play,” she said.