JAKARTA, Indonesia – At 17 years old, Yuka Saso has already become the top-ranked youth golfer in the Philippines. But she is definitely not stopping there.
"Dream ko talaga is maging LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) player, and maging world No. 1 and kung manalo po ako ngayon, same pa rin: practice hard, hangga't di ko pa rin nararating pangarap ko, I'll just practice hard," said Saso. (READ: Teen golfer Yuka Saso nabs 2nd PH gold)
(My dream is really to become an LPGA player and to become world No. 1. And if I won today, it's still going to be the same: practice hard, I'll just practice hard until I reach my dream.)
After winning a double gold in the 2018 Asian Games, Saso's goal of joining the ranks of Filipina pro golfer Jennifer Rosales in the LPGA isn't too far-fetched. (READ: Golden golf double for PH women's team)
The Filipino-Japanese has been in the sport for nine years due to her father's influence. Growing up, she watched Rory Mcllroy, who inspired her to pursue a golfing career. And of course, there's Tiger Woods, one of the all-time sporting greats admired by virtually every golfer.
"Lumaki po kasi ako napapanood si Rory, si Tiger kasi nakita ko medyo pababa na siya, so more on Rory po talaga, pero No. 1 talaga si Tiger," said Saso.
(I grew up watching Rory. I got to watch Tiger when his career was already starting to slow down. So I'm more of a Rory fan, but Tiger is really No. 1.)
National coach Rick Gibson said he has always been confident that Saso can strongly boost the team's chances in the Asian Games.
The rising golf star – who currently ranks 48 in the world in women's amateur golf – also holds the No.1 standing in the national under-18, which assured her an outright slot in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games this October in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Gibson said Saso can certainly surpass her all-time best rank of No. 29.
"Now after this gold, probably top 20, which is probably where she belongs," said Gibson. – Rappler.com