Yuka Saso Rewards Japanese Father and Philippine Mother by Winning U.S. Women’s Open; Earns 2nd Championship

Toshiaki Obitsu / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yuka Saso takes part in the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster, Penn., on Sunday.

LOS ANGELES — Yuka Saso clenched her left hand into a fist after she successfully putted for par on the 18th hole and repeatedly pumped it in the air.

Although the last group of other players were still playing, Saso firmly believed she had secured the victory.

When the people in the gallery clapped, she smiled and said, “I’m very glad and full of gratitude.”

Saso had trouble on the sixth hole and double bogeyed it, but she did not give up and turned things around.

She kept in mind the advice of her father, Masakazu, 66, after she had a poor result in the previous week’s match when he told her: “It’s better to stay cool while playing. That’s the only thing you’re lacking. In terms of technique, you’re not inferior to anyone.”

Saso was born in the Philippines and raised in Tokyo. Later, she moved back to the Philippines and brushed up her golf skills there.

She was 19 years old when she marked her first golf tournament championship in June 2021. She golfed in the Tokyo Olympics in that year as a representative of the Philippines. After the Games, she chose to obtain Japanese nationality.

“In the championship win in 2021, I feel I could reward my mother as a player representing the Philippines,” Saso said. “This year, I can represent Japan, and so I feel I could reward my father.”

Saso is still young at 22. It is likely that she will continue rewarding her parents through playing golf.