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PH golf champ Yuka Saso ready for Women’s PGA


Yuka Saso LPGA us women's open

FILE — Yuka Saso of the Philippines hits her tee shot on the ninth hole playoff against Nasa Hataoka of Japan during the final round of the 76th U.S. Women’s Open Championship at The Olympic Club on June 06, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP 

Filipino golfer Yuka Saso won her first major title before earning her LPGA Tour card.

Now that she has both under her belt, courtesy of her win at the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this month, Saso — who just turned 20 on Sunday — is approaching the next major with a fresh mindset.

“I don’t really expect anything,” Saso said Wednesday on the eve of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. “I’m just more focusing on what I have to do with my game.

“I’m trying to improve every day to be a better golfer, to be a better person.”

Saso earned her LPGA Tour card with the victory at the Olympic Club. She has not played in the past two LPGA events, but did take a trip to San Diego for the U.S. Open.

That’s where Saso got to meet Phil Mickelson and her idol Rory McIlroy, after whom Saso has emulated her swing. She now has her own video of McIlroy’s swing after walking three holes with him at Torrey Pines.

Saso said she hasn’t counted how many times she has watched the video, but it’s “a lot.”

“He was very nice, and all the questions that I had, he answered me with honest(y), and I think he was very sincere,” she said. “And so, yeah, I was very happy that I was able to meet him.”

Saso said she did get to sleep with the U.S. Women’s Open trophy for a night before returning it to the United States Golf Association to have her name engraved on it.

Her focus is now back on the golf course and how to attack the Atlanta Athletic Club in what Saso expects to be hot and humid conditions. It’s a good test for the tour’s most recent major winner as the former Japan LPGA star transitions to playing more regularly in the United States.

“I think I’m more focused now on playing here and I think improving my game more, learn from the best golfers here in the LPGA,” Saso said. “I think it doesn’t stop there, so I’ll just focus on what’s next for me and keep going.”

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