Yuka Sasso will defend the title of ‘life-changing’ US Women’s Open

File photo: June 6, 2021;  San Francisco, California, USA;  After the final round of the US Women's Open golf tournament at the Olympic Club, Yuka Sasso lifted the US Open trophy by winning the Sudden Death Play-off against NASA Hataoka.

File photo: June 6, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; After the final round of the US Women’s Open golf tournament at the Olympic Club, Yuka Sasso lifted the US Open trophy by winning the Sudden Death Play-off against NASA Hataoka. Compulsory Credit: Kyle Terda-USA Today Sports / File Photo

Getting a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour card after her first major win at last year’s US Women’s Open was a “life-changing” experience for Yuka Sasso, the Japanese-Filipino golfer told Reuters on Wednesday.

Sasso fought back from a terrible start to win the Playoff title in San Francisco last June, earning a five-year tour card and declaring himself a new force in women’s golf, largely influenced by South Koreans.

“It was life-changing,” the 20-year-old, who was born in the Philippines, said in an interview from the United States.

“Since then I have been playing on the LPGA Tour and every week I am learning a lot and really enjoying my journey, so I am very grateful.

“It’s not been a year yet, but everyone is great. They are very friendly and if I have questions, they are happy to help. I’ve always dreamed of being on stage. “

The World No. 15 says he will go missing next month while defending his title at the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in North Carolina.

“This will be my first tournament as a defending champion, so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Sasso said.

“I don’t know what to expect, so I’ll try to enjoy it, try to prepare for other events the way I do.”

Sasso, the daughter of a Filipino mother and Japanese father, first gained fame at the 2018 Asian Games, where she won individual and team gold medals for the Philippines.

She represented her mother nation when she was head of the Tokyo Olympics last year and won the Tokyo Olympics, but has chosen to play for her father’s country since last November to retain her Japanese passport.

“I’m so proud to be half Japanese and half Filipino,” said Sasso, who was required by Japanese law to call before his 22nd birthday.

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