Filipino-Japanese teenager and Japan LPGA Tour player Yuka Saso received the U.S. Women’s Open up on Sunday, beating Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in a a few-gap playoff right after the pair completed the closing round tied for the lead at 4-underneath.
A twin citizen with a Filipino mother and Japanese father, Saso tied Park Inbee as the youngest champion at the tournament, accurately the exact age — 19 decades, 11 months, 17 days — as the South Korean was when she won in 2008.
Only two other women with Japanese citizenship have received majors just before her — Hisako Higuchi at the 1977 LPGA Championship and Hinako Shibuno at the 2019 Women’s British Open.
After ending the remaining round at San Francisco’s Olympic Club a single stroke ahead of the right away leader, American Lexi Thompson, Saso and Hataoka remained deadlocked as a result of two playoff holes which they both equally parred.
A properly performed wedge shot from the tough gave Saso a birdie putt for the tournament on the third playoff hole, and she sunk it to turn into the very first men’s or women’s main winner from the Philippines, the place she represents in level of competition.
“I was just happy and thankful that I was right here and equipped to participate in in this tournament,” explained Saso, who overcame again-to-again double bogeys early in the closing round to make the playoff.
“I would like to thank my loved ones. I wouldn’t be here with out them.”
Saso is predicted to participate in for the Philippines at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. She received two gold medals for the nation at the 2018 Asian Video games, a single in the person event and one more in the workforce function.
Saso, who won the right to take part in the LPGA Tour for 5 yrs, is essential underneath Japanese law to decide on 1 nationality by age 22. In accordance to her father, Masakazu Saso, she is predicted to pick Japanese nationality.
She turned pro in 2019 following earning her Japan LPGA card and began working out of Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki’s observe facility. She has gained two titles on the Japanese tour and sits fourth on the cash record in the present-day time.
The 22-yr-outdated Hataoka experienced been gunning for her fourth LPGA tour get and 1st key.
“I was imagining to myself that I essential birdies (on the playoff holes). But not staying ready to get that birdie on the very first playoff hole almost certainly value me,” Hataoka reported.
Thompson held a 5-stroke guide immediately after the eighth gap, but as Hataoka shut in with a few birdies in rapid succession on the back again nine, the American group beloved appeared to wilt underneath the force and dropped five pictures around the remaining eight holes.
Saso carded back again-to-again birdies on the par-5 16th and 17th to get to 4-underneath and into the playoff with Hataoka.
“To all my buddies and lovers back in the Philippines and Japan, I’m definitely grateful. I hope I can retain this likely,” she said.
This year’s U.S. Women’s Open up was the 1st LPGA tournament open up to the community given that the commence of the coronavirus pandemic.
The oldest of the current women’s majors, it was very first held in 1946 as a match-enjoy occasion.
With a purse of $5.5 million, including $1 million for the winner, it is the world’s richest tournament for women of all ages. Qualifying functions ended up held in 23 spots, including Japan, to decide the remaining area of 156 entrants.
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