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Yuka Saso rules ICTSI Greenfield by 2

CALAMBA, Laguna, Philippines — Yuka Saso shrugged off Ploychompoo Wirairungrueng’s early charge and quelled the Thai ace’s late rally with clutch birdies as the top amateur humbled the elite pros by winning the ICTSI Ayala Greenfield Ladies Challenge crown by two on a closing 70 here yesterday.

Saso watched her huge five-shot lead reduced to a couple of strokes after five holes as Wirairungreung sizzled with three birdies in ideal condition but pulled away again on a two-shot swing (birdie-bogey) on No. 7. She then matched her rival’s birdie on the par-3 16th that all but completed her impressive romp in the kickoff leg of this season Ladies Philippine Golf Tour sponsored by ICTSI.

Yuka Saso kisses her trophy after scoring her second pro victory. Ernie Peñaredondo
“I didn’t expect to win because of the quality of competition. But I’m happy I did it,” said Saso, who leaned on her hot irons and superb putting to frustrate her pursuers and close out with a 35-35 card for a 54-hole total of seven-under 209.

She credited her wire-to-wire triumph to a superb second round 67 that gave her a big cushion and the confidence heading to the final 18 holes of the P750,000 event organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc.

“My 67 in the second round spelled the difference. It gave me confidence and I never had to worry about anything. I played pressure-free,” said the 16-year-old Saso after scoring a follow-up to her three-shot victory over Korean Ji Won Kang, also in wire-to-wire fashion, at Eagle Ridge in 2016.

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