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Practice, focus key to Yuka Saso’s steely showing

Yuka Saso golf US women's open

Jun 6, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Yuka Saso plays her shot from the second tee during the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at The Olympic Club. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

MANILA, Philippines—There’s neither rocket science nor a mind-bending routine behind Yuka Saso’s composure.

Her steely performance that led her to a historic US Open win on Monday, according to the teen golfer herself, was all thanks to the countless hours spent on working on her craft.

“Practice,” she told members of the Philippine press with a smile. “And focus. I was focused on myself more, and then hard work paid off.”

Saso walked on a tightrope to forge a playoff with veteran Nasa Hataoka for the crown.

“I wouldn’t say that I was so calm,” she said. “I think all players, at some point, become nervous. I think I just focused well on my routine, trusted the process. I think that helped me get this win.”

So focused was the 19-year-old Saso that rather than basking in the glory of her recent feat, she’d rather talk about what the future holds for her.

“It’s a good win. But it doesn’t stop here,” she said. “I think we can get more.”

Saso said she’s eyeing KPMG Women’s Championship in Atlanta, which will be held later this month.

As for the Tokyo Summer Games, Saso noted that the Olympics follow a different ranking system.

And no, winning a major—in such a nerve-racking way—also does not guarantee her an Olympic Gold.

“It doesn’t mean that I won this, I can win in the Olympics. I still have to work on it. There’s a lot of tournaments coming up,” Saso said.

“So I just have to get back to work and let’s see what’s going to happen in the Olympics.”


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