Golfers inspired by Diaz’s gold medal win

Published July 28, 2021, 7:51 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Juvic Pagunsan, left, and Yuka Saso at the driving range of the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, Japan. (Photo from the Philippine Golf Tour Instagram)

Filipino golfers are raring to mirror the golden feat of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz with Juvic Pagunsan seeing action first in the country he considers his second home.

Men’s competition kicks off Thursday, July 29, at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama, Japan – a place very familiar to Bacolod pride Pagunsan.

National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP) Secretary-General Bones Floro said that Pagunsan, as well as Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan – Filipino golfers who will compete in the women’s category – are motivated with Diaz’s triumph as she ruled the 55-kilogram class in weightlifting last Monday.

It was the very first gold medal for the Philippines, which ended 97 years of waiting, or since the country started sending athletes in the 1924 Paris Olympics.

“Siyempre inspired sila,” said Floro in a message exchange with Manila Bulletin-Tempo Wednesday.

Floro, who arrived in Tokyo Monday, said that Pagunsan and Saso were not able to watch the competition live on TV, but both were checking social media posts on latest updates.

Pagunsan had his final practice round a day before the competition proper, and according to Floro, the veteran golfer who campaigns in the Japan PGA Tour has played in the par-71 course.

“Yes he did, and Yuka too,” said Floro.

The 43-year-old Pagunsan is on the second to the last flight that is scheduled to tee off at 10:58 a.m. alongside Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay and Vincent Scott Zimbabwe.