By REY C. LACHICA
She’s just a rookie in the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association (JLPGA) but Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso is already a multi-millionaire.
The country’s lone double-gold winner in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia breached the P30-million mark in earnings Sunday after finishing tied for 14th in the Japan Women’s Open in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Though she pocketed only Y1,226,250 in the second major event of the Tour, Saso raised her total earnings to Y65,190,250 – which is about P30 million – to remain the money list leader.
She accumulated that fortune in seven tournaments in just a little over three months. In seven events, she already won two – the NEC Karuizawa and Nitori Ladies events.
And she’s only 19.
With the way she’s playing, Saso could become one of the richest Filipino athletes in history – perhaps wealthier than some PBA superstars.
Most of PBA stars command at least P500,000 a month in salaries – not to mention other perks they get from their respective sponsors.
But collecting at least a half-a-million peso prize in just four days of “fun” on a golf course with breathtaking sceneries and well-manicured greens has made Saso’s sport more appealing.
But it’s not easy.
In golf, success can’t be achieved overnight
One certainly needs proper guidance – in her case is her golfing father – and the desire to become one of the best shotmakers of her era.
Though her putting is not consistent, Saso’s iron game is one of the best in the trade – thanks to her brute strength that belies her lean frame.
At her best, she can produce radar-like shots that awe even the grizzled veterans of the Tour.
Many golf experts said Frankie Minoza enjoyed the same success during his prime in Japan but most of his exploits were not reported though.
“Though iba ang premyuhan noong araw, malaki rin ang naipon ni Frankie as a golfer,” said a golf expert.
Judging her discipline and character, Saso looks destined to become the most successful female golfer in the country, and perhaps one of the richest Filipino athletes.