Malacañang congratulated Filipino teenager Yuka Saso for her historic win in the 76th US Women’s Open golf championship at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.
“Today is a great day in Philippine sports. The Palace greets Yuka Saso for bringing honor to the Philippines by winning the 2021 US Women’s Open,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
Roque recalled how President Rodrigo Duterte met Saso at Malacañan Palace when she was awarded a Presidential citation after winning the gold medal in the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
“She is indeed the pride and glory of our country. We are all proud of you. Congratulations,” he added.
The Philippine Consulate in San Francisco also issued a congratulatory message for Saso.
“The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco congratulates 19-year-old Filipina golfer Ms. Yuka Saso for winning the 2021 76th US Women’s Open in San Francisco! Mabuhay” the Consulate said in a statement posted on its official Twitter account.
Saso bested Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the title.
Her 10-foot putt for birdie on the third playoff hole Saturday (Philippine time) helped her edge out Hataoka and become the second teenager to win the US Women’s Open.
The 19-year-old Saso overcame early back-to-back double bogeys to make the playoff and then became the first player from the Philippines to win a golf major.
She modeled her golf game after former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, spending hours watching videos of his swing before going to bed each night to perfect her own.
Saso has yet to meet McIlroy personally, though she has said that she hopes to do so at the Tokyo Olympics.
She is provisionally qualified for the Games as she is currently ranked 22nd in the Olympic Golf Rankings, where the top 60 will earn tickets to Tokyo.
A lawmaker at the House of Representatives, meanwhile, has filed a resolution recognizing Saso’s feat.
In filing House Resolution 1852, Senior Citizen Party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes said her historic win effectively puts the Philippines on the world’s golfing map, and will inspire more Filipinos to pursue golf as a sports or hobby.
“Saso’s win will be forever etched in our sports record books as being the first Filipino to win a major golf tournament,” Ordanes said, making it the greatest achievement the country’s golf history to date.*PNA