Saso eyes Y100 million in earnings, third crown
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) – November 12, 2020 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Finally getting untracked, Yuka Saso looms large again in the Itoen Ladies golf tournament beginning tomorrow in Chiba, aiming not only to better her runner-up finish the last time out but also hit a milestone Y100 million in earnings in a prolific rookie campaign in the LPGA of Japan Tour.
With a strong finish behind winner Shin Jie of Korea in last week’s Toto Classic where she closed out with a solid 63 at the Taiheiyo Club Minori course in Ibaraki, Saso has snapped out of a slump that caused her to yield the Player of the Year lead to local bet Sakura Koiwai.
The ICTSI-backed ace’s latest exploit shoved her back into the top of the Mercedes derby ranking while firming up her hold of the lead in the money list race where she hiked her earnings to Y82,753,170. A victory, worth Y18 million, on Sunday will enable her to hit the Y100 million mark that would easily make her the first rookie player to amass such winnings in a season.
She hopes to sustain her final round charge last Sunday with a strong start at the 6,741-yard Great Island Club against Minami Katsu and Saki Asai at 9 a.m. on No. 1 with the Fil-Japanese expecting an equally fiercer, tougher competition in the presence of fellow two-leg winner and in-form Jie, defending champion Ai Suzuki, last year’s British Women’s Open champion Hinako Shibuno and Koiwai, among others.
The multi-titled Jie, Korea’s former No. 1 who also won the Fujitsu Ladies, also in Chiba, last month, drew Suzuki and Koiwai in the featured group at 10 a.m., also looking to keep the momentum of her stirring eagle-birdie finish in Toto Classic that frustrated Saso.