CALAMBA, Laguna – Yuka Saso held off Ploychompoo Wirairungreung’s early charge with clutch birdies as the top amateur humbled the elite pros by winning the ICTSI Ayala Greenfield Ladies Challenge crown by two on a closing 70 on Friday.
Saso watched her huge five-shot lead reduce to a couple of strokes after five holes as Wirairungreung sizzled with three birdies in ideal condition.
But Saso pulled away again on a two-shot swing (birdie-bogey) on No. 7 then matched her rival’s birdie on the par-3 16th that all but completed her impressive wire-to-wire romp in the kickoff leg of this season Ladies Philippine Golf Tour sponsored.
“I didn’t expect to win because of the quality of competition. But I’m happy I did it,” said Saso, who closed out with a 35-35 card for a 54-hole total of seven-under 209.
It was the second pro crown for the 16-year-old who scored a three-shot victory over Korean Ji Won Kang at Eagle Ridge in 2016.
Saso also became the latest amateur to win on the LPGT after Abby Arevalo nipped del Rosario by one on a last hole birdie at Riviera last July and her victory ended the Thais’ domination of the country’s premier circuit after Renuka Suksukont and Yupaporn Kawinpakorn reigned at the Phl Ladies Masters and South Forbes Invitational last month.