October 15, 2021 | 15:24
MANILA, Philippines – Yuka Saso will not be traveling to the BMW Championship in South Korea next week, but to the last two LPGA Tour events in Florida early next month to crown a historic maiden campaign for the world’s best women.
This includes at most trying to reach the world rankings No. 3 after the US Women’s Open winner was fifth in the career best after a joint fourth attempt at the Cognizant Founders Cup in New Jersey last week.
The chance to play for the first time at the $ 2 million meetup in Busan the ICTSI-backed ace missed some sort of homecoming to Japan instead, most likely to spice up the stellar field at the TOTO Classic, where she finished second last year occupied.
“My next tournament will be in Japan,” said Saso, suggesting a comeback at the November 4-7 event in Shiga Prefecture, which was originally on the LPGA calendar but has been postponed due to travel restrictions.
After she had not reached her bid in the LPGA Q-School Stage 2 at the end of 2019, Saso received a card on the LPGA of Japan Tour, where she started her professional career and immediately made an impression with successive championships from her second event.
She went on to take six more top 10 finishes and ended the season in 1st and 2nd place in the money and 2020, respectively, where she finished 13th.
She would eventually win one of the five majors of the LPGA last June, which instantly made her a celebrity while earning her five-year membership status in the world’s leading women.
“I also play the last two tournaments in the LPGA,” added the 20-year-old Fil-Japanese, referring to the Pelican Women’s Championship on November 11-14. November at the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair and the CME at the end of the season Globe Tour Championship from November 18 to 21 at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples.
Saso’s name was actually noticeably missing from the early list of both events until it was included in the latest post on the LPGA tour site.
The then amateur Saso set herself high goals in mid-2019, namely to become number 1 in the world and win Olympic gold. While she couldn’t compete for top awards on her first jump at the Quadrennial Games in Tokyo last August, where she finished in ninth place together, she remains on the trail of her world rankings goal given her constantly improving performance.
But with over 100 points behind in 3rd place Inbee Park (353.51) and 4th place Sei Young Kim (354.46) with 222.37 total points, Saso has to be no less than third in the Pelican Championship and hope that the Korean Aces would fail to get a notch or two up the leaderboard.
The Pelican is the last event of the season before the CME Group Tour Championship, which features the 60 best players of the Race to the CME Globe 2021, in which Saso is currently in 14th place.
The winner of the official LPGA event will receive 500 points, while the second and third placed will receive 320 and 230 points respectively.
Looking back on her productive LPGA campaign, Saso said it had been a good year but claimed she was in no rush to speed things up.
“I think this year was really good. I’ve had good results in the past few weeks, ”said Saso, referring to their joint fourth place in the Arkansas Championship and the Cognizant Founders Cup, which finished their joint 19th place at the ShopRite Classic.
“Winning the US Open was a gift and I’m having a lot of fun too,” she said. “Yes, it was really a good year and I am really very grateful.”
With a US Open win and number 5 in the world rankings, Saso remains more than willing to learn as she prepares for more title shots in the majors for the next year and beyond.