Yuka Sasso became the first player in more than two decades to become the US Women’s Open champion when the $ 10-million event kicked off on Thursday (Friday in Manila) at Pine Needles in Pinehurst, North Carolina, where the last player. Successfully pulled off the feat to defend.
After becoming the first Filipino to win a golf major last year, the 21-year-old Sasso will now play for Japan and look for the same spark that led him to world fame last year in the Olympic Village in front of a gallery in the Philippines. Immigrants who have followed his every step.
For the first time in 15 years, Pine Needles will host the 72-hole championship, but the course was kind to the defending champion, and Anika Sorenstam completed the feat in 1995-96, and the last time Aussie Carrie Webb did it. 2000-01.
“I just want to enjoy and have fun,” said Sasso, who has worked on all aspects of his game to prepare for his defense.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for all of us,” Sasso said of the layout. “It’s very hard, especially greens.”
The absolute best in the women’s sport will be Pine Needles, where reigning Olympic champion Nellie Corda is returning after a two-month absence due to a blood clot in her arm.
South Korea’s Jin Young-ko is now the world’s top player and Korda has dropped to No. 2 as he has been sidelined since February due to illness.
“To make my first shot on Thursday and hit, as far as I’m concerned now,” Corda replied when asked about his goal for the week. “I have been out of the competition since the beginning of February. I am really grateful to be able to play here. I’m going to take it one step at a time.
“I do not expect much. The girls already have a bunch of goals in the middle of their season and under their belts. “
Sasso defeated NASA Hataoka in a two-hole collective playoff and a one-hole sudden death last year, both of which benefited from the fall of American Lexi Thompson in the back nine on Sunday where he led five shots.
Two more Filipinos, Bianca Pagdanganan and Doty Ardina, have also entered.
Sasso leaves at 8:32 a.m. in a group that will also include Sweden’s Anna Nordquist and amateur Jensen Kassel.
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