Saso moves up, Pagdanganan drops in world rankings

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Saso moves up, Pagdanganan drops in world rankings
Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso

MANILA, Philippines – Yuka Saso kept gaining in the world rankings despite another missed cut stint last week, moving to No. 55 with two top-notch events left before wrapping up her remarkable rookie campaign in the LPGA of Japan Tour.

With 1.95 average points out of a total of 68.33 points over 21 tournaments, she improved two spots from last week’s standing with the 19-year-old Fil-Japanese, who dreams of becoming world No. 1 someday, expected to go all-out this week and the next in an attempt to break into the Top 50 in the world.

Meanwhile, Saso will be doubly motivated to do better in the Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open firing off Thursday in Ehime Prefecture as she drew rival Sakura Koiwai and recent Mitsubishi Electric winner Yuna Nishimura in one of the featured flights in the Y100 million event.

Saso (928.85 points) and Koiwai (897.09 points), along with a surging Ayaka Furue (831.78 points, are in a fierce battle for the Player of the Year honors, guaranteeing a slambang action right in the first round of the 72-hole championship which stakes Y18 million and 300 ranking points to the winner.

Furue will start behind Saso's 8:20 a.m. flight on No. 10 with defending champion Hinako Shibuno and Momoko Osato.

The region’s premier ladies circuit winds up its pandemic-shortened season next week for the last major, the JLPGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup in Miyazaki, which stakes a total prize fund of Y120 million and 400 ranking points.

With two victories and a runner-up finish, the ICTSI-backed Saso is safely ahead in the money list race with Y82,753,170 with Koiwai a far second with Y59,432,542 with a pair of strong finishes in Elleair Open and Ricoh Cup likely to net her a record sweep of the circuit’s two coveted titles for a Tour rookie.

Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan dropped two rungs to world No. 154 following a three-week break but the LPGA driving leader is tipped to make up for the slip as she resumes her campaign in the Pelican Women’s Championship in Florida starting Thursday.

The Pinay duo also kept their No. 26 (Saso) and No. 40 (Pagdanganan) positions in the Olympic rankings with the power-hitting tandem hoping to keep their spots all the way to next year in an attempt to clinch the two slots of the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympic Games moved to July 23-August 8, 2021 due to the global health crisis.




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