IN-form Yuka Saso is downplaying the ‘favorite’ tag as the Philippine Ladies Open Golf Championship gets underway on Wednesday at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club.
The Fil-Japanese player added the Philippine Amateur Golf Championship to her title collection, winning by nine at Riviera in Cavite.
“There are too many good players around, especially the Thais. So I’ll just pray and hope for the best,” said Saso.
The 15-year-old Saso claimed the individual crown and powered the Philippines to the World Junior Girls team title in Canada last year. Saso also reached the semifinals of the 2016 US Women’s Amateur and won on the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour.
Saso said fellow top amateur golfer Harmie Constantino are among the local players to watch, while the international golfers are always a threat.
Also seeing action are Sofia Legaspi, Bianca Pagdanganan, Diana Araneta, Felicia Medalla, Kristine Torralba, Mikaela Arroyo and the mainstays of Team The Country Club, led by Pauline del Rosario, Sofia Chabon, Mikha Fortuna, Abby Arevalo, Bernice Ilas and 12-year-old Annyka Cayabyab.
Supamas Sangchan won back-to-back from 2013 and fellow Thai Pimnipa Panthong claimed the title in 2015. Princess Superal topped last year’s event at Tagaytay Midlands.
Young star Atthaya Thitikul, Napabhach Boon-In and Tunrada Piddon will banner Thailand’s bid while Singapore is fielding in a nine-player delegation in the Open category headed by Faldo Series campaigners Denise Wong and Jaqueline Young. Taiwan will be led by Jennifer Chi Wu, Lili Hsu and Lanfen Hsieh while Korea will be represented by Yang Ju Young.
Eighty-four players have so far confirmed their participation in the event organized and conducted by the Women’s Golf Association of the Philippines, presented by Champion Infinity and backed by Lexus, Metro Pacific Investments, CranUTI, Texas Eagle, San Miguel Corp., Botanika, Enclave, Taishan Insurance Broker's Inc. , Inquirer, Cherrylume, Alveo, Manila Golf, G&W Clubshares, Alabang Ladies Golf Chapter, Canlubang Golf Club, Forest Hills Golf Club, Sta. Elena Golf Club, Tagaytay Higlands, Gatorade, Ladies Philippine Golf Tour, Vermogen, Gilberto Duavit and Water World Trading Inc.