Yuka Saso not pressured to defend US Open title

Yuka Saso appears before the Filipino media for the first time in two years on Monday, Feb. 21. (Kristel Satumbaga)

Rising golf star Yuka Saso is not putting too much pressure on herself to defend her US Women’s Open title and prove that her historic feat is not fluke.

“I personally take (my tournaments) week by week. I’m not setting my goals too far. Matagal pa po yung US Open and I just want to focus on the immediate tournaments that I will be competing in so far,” the 20-year-old Fil-Japanese sensation said.

Saso is in town for the first time in two years to visit relatives and to prepare for the two LPGA events in Southeast Asia: the $1.7 million HSBC Women’s World Championship from March 3 to 6 at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore and the $1.6 million Honda LPGA Thailand from March 10 to 13 at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course in Chonburi.

Though she has yet to win another title since triumphing in the US Women’s Open last June, Saso said she just wants to play her best game.

“I’m just enjoying every moment. It’s very important. That’s also my wish to every golfer: to not put too much pressure on anything and just enjoy playing golf,” she said.

With Saso turning pro late in 2019 and choosing Japanese citizenship, the Bulacan-born golfer wouldn’t be able to defend her two gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games when the 19th edition fires off in Hangzhou, China in September.

She was, however, optimistic of the PH team’s future in the amateurs.

“I think there are a lot of good golfers in the Philippines and I believe the Philippines has a good potential to win in the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games. They just need time and effort to get ready,” Saso said.

She will, however, miss the camaraderie and experiences with her PH teammates when competing in such amateur events.

“It was a great time and I’ll treasure all those moments spent with the team. It’s not only about golf, about the tournament, it’s about the experiences that I have with them that are really memorable.”