While most players and fans alike abroad would express surprise and shock over Yuka Saso’s riveting victory in the US Women’s Open, her peers, a former coach and a fellow pro in the men’s ranks back home never doubted her potentials as a world beater and took pride in her historic major run.
“It makes us very proud since it’s historic. She really worked hard for it and deserved it. She’s an inspiration to all of us,” said Princess Superal, who also broke into international prominence when she became the first Filipino-born player to win a USGA (United States Golf Association) tournament in the US Girls’ Juniors, also via sudden death, in Arizona in 2014.
“As the first Filipino golfer to win a major championship, we will now be better known by other countries and in the world,” added Superal, who dominated the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour in 2019 and who is eyeing a return to the Japan Step Up Tour, the farm league of the LPGA of Japan Tour, where Saso is based, in a month or two.
“We are all so proud of Yuka. She is a champion through and through,” said Pauline del Rosario, who is currently campaigning in the Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) in Texas in pursuit of an LPGA Tour card.
“She is the prime example that Filipinas can shine on the biggest stage in women’s golf.”
Del Rosario plays her third WAPT tournament starting Tuesday in the Oscar Williams Classic in Anna, Texas.
“Yuka’s victory will give Pauline a boost in her confidence — that a Filipino can indeed win on the big stage,” Del Rosario’s dad, Bong, said.
While acknowledging her major feat would indeed serve as an inspiration, especially among the youth, Saso hopes those who will take up the sport would do it because they want to and not just because they are swayed by the “Yuka fever.”
“I hope this (win) can inspire more young Filipino golfers looking to make their name in the sport,” Saso said.
“But I also hope that they would love the sport and not be forced into it just because of my win.”
“She has all the talent to be world No. 1,” said swing coach and former national champion Bong Lopez, who handled the Filipino-Japanese shotmaker during her younger years under the ICTSI golf program.
Multi-titled Tony Lascuña, who has seen Saso grow and glow to become a strong player at Manila Southwoods, said her victory will surely inspire the young Filipinos, most of whom are glued to their gadgets especially during this pandemic.
“I’m pretty sure many would dump their gadgets and ask their parents to pick up clubs and go to the range,” Lascuna said.
“Yuka is diligent, hard-working even when she was just starting that’s why she’s been reaping her rewards.”
“We are so proud of her. It wasn’t just a personal feat but she carried the whole of Philippines with her victory.”