Saso resumes Japan LPGA hunt
Yuka Saso
STAR/ File
Saso resumes Japan LPGA hunt
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Well-rested and motivated, Yuka Saso sets out for the NEC Karuizawa 72 golf tournament in Nagano Prefecture today, brimming with confidence with a form whipped into shape during the long break in the LPGA of Japan Tour.

The 19-year-old Fil-Japanese will be taking on practically the same field she had faced in the Earth Mondahmin Cup in Chiba, where she rallied to tie for fifth in her pro debut in the region’s most lucrative ladies circuit last June.

Fine-tuning her long game, iron play and putting the last seven weeks, the 2018 Asian Games double gold medalist expects nothing but a strong start, the $748,500 event being a 54-hole tournament which features the likes of Earth Mondahmin Cup winner Ayaka Watanabe and JLPGA stalwarts Yuka Yasuda, Ai Suzuki, Suzuei Matsuda, Mizuki Tanaka, Momoko Ueda and Erika Hara.

But the power-hitting Saso believes she can measure up with the best of the rest, her brand of game suited for the flat but challenging par-72 layout, the toughest of the six Karuizawa courses dotted with ponds, bunkers and other hazards and where each hole varies in character and form.

The NEC Karuizawa is only the second tournament in this year’s JLPGA as 19 others were scrapped due to the global health crisis although the field is bracing for a grueling campaign with eight money-rich events slated in the next three months.

Saso will start at 9:38 a.m. with Rie Tsuji and Yutin Seki on No. 10 with the ICTSI-backed bet eyeing to duplicate her fiery start at Earth Mondahmin that saw her grab a share of the early lead with a 66. Though she faltered with a 74 in the second round and slipped off the leaderboard, Saso fought back with 71 and 68 in the last two days to salvage a joint fifth place finish and pocket P4 million.

Meanwhile, Dottie Ardina withdrew from the Founders Tribute tournament of the Symetra Tour at the last minute to work on her visa for next week’s British Women’s Open in Troon, Scotland.

But Fil-Ams Clariss Guce and Demi Runas will see action in the 54-hole tournament firing off Friday at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona.

YUKA SASO
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