Saso, Ueda brace for fierce duel
Yuka Saso
Saso, Ueda brace for fierce duel
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - September 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It will be youth vs experience as Yuka Saso and Momoko Ueda slug it out in a virtual “match play” in the Descente Ladies Tokai Classic beginning today at the Shinminami Aichi Country Club’s Mihama course in Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

Yuka Yasuda was actually set to join the featured flight at 8:45 a.m. on No. 1 but Saso’s fellow Tour rookie withdrew at the last minute due to neck injury, leaving the current Player of the Year frontrunner and the youngest player in the LPGA of Japan Tour to finish on top of the money list in 2007 in mano-a-mano start in the Y80- million event serving as the sixth leg of the pandemic-shortened season.

Saso, 19, won two of the first five tournaments to emerge the marked player although her last two results were in stark contrast in her title romps in the NEC Karuizawa and Nitori Ladies. She struggled for joint 29th in the Golf5 Ladies and faded in the final round and settled for a share of 13th in the circuit’s first major – the Japan LPGA Championship last week.

But she expects to rebound strong this weekend with the 2018 Asian Games double gold medalist focusing of late on improving her putting and producing more types of short-game shots.

The 34-year-old Ueda, meanwhile, is raring to redeem herself from a tied for 44th finish last week with the 34-year-old two-time JLPGA winner tipped to use her veteran smarts against Saso’s power and exuberance, guaranteeing a slam-bang face-off between two of the fancied names in the 107-player field.

Still, a slew of other aces are out to spoil the duo’s highly anticipated first day duel, including Saki Nagamine, who sets out right behind Saso and Ueda’s flight with Asuka Kashiwabara and Teresa Lu, also looking for a strong start to fuel her drive for a second straight championship after besting a stellar field to nail her maiden JLPGA victory.

Ai Suzuki, the winningest in the fold with 16 victories, is also expected to be right in the mix in the 8:25 a.m. flight with Erika Hara and Minami Katsu, together with Earth Mondahmin Cup winner Ayaka Watanabe.

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