Pinoy pride Yuka Saso hopes to meet idol Rory McIlroy

Published June 9, 2021, 3:12 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Yuka Saso (AFP)

US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso said that she looks forward to the day of meeting her idol Rory McIlroy.

The 19-year-old Saso was thrilled to get a message via social media post from McIlroy during the final day of the US Women’s Open last Sunday at the Lake Course of The Olympic Club Sunday in San Francisco, California.

Saso said she was in awe when McIlroy posted on his ‘My Day’ via Instagram encouraging her to “get the trophy” – which she did by winning in a three-hole playoff against Japanese Nasa Hataoka.

But for Saso, meeting McIlroy would be different.

“Mas magiging happy ako pag mag-kita kami in person,” said Saso in a Zoom interview with local media.

“But I’m thankful he messaged me,” added Saso, who also claimed the top purse of $1 million, or approximately P48 million.

Saso was the first Filipino to win the US Women’s Open, and matched the record of Park In-bee of South Korea as the youngest winner in the championship’s history at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days.

Saso said she started to imitate McIlroy’s game, particularly the golf swing of Northern Ireland, when she was 13 years old. From there, she was able to dominate at the amateur level.

She highlighted her amateur campaign with a double gold medal win during the Asian Games in Indonesia back in 2018. It was in late 2019 when she turned pro at the age of 17.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Saso started her pro career at the Japan LPGA Tour She has won two titles in Japan, before she finally had her breakthrough win on US soil.

Saso said that next for her is the KPMG championship on June 24 to 27 at the Highlands Course in Atlanta, Georgia. A month after that, she is expected to play in the Tokyo Olympics.