MADE her Asian Games debut for the Philippines, Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso had it auspicious as she bagged the second gold for the country in the ongoing continental sporting meet on Sunday.
Holding her nerve in the final round of the golf competition at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia at the Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club course, 17-year-old Saso sank a pressure-laden eagle putt from 10 feet on the par-five 19th to thrust herself to the top and win gold.
With identical three-under 33s in the front nine, Ms. Saso wound up with a four-round tally of 275, three shots better than second-running Liu Wenbo of China, who slumped to a 73 to settle for the silver with a 278 aggregate.
Ms. Saso’s teammate Bianca Panganiban made it a double podium finish for the Philippines on the greens on Sunday as she latched on the individual bronze medal with a combined 72-hole score of 279.
The podium finish of Misses Saso and Panganiban also allowed the Philippine women’s golf team, which also included Louis Kay Go, to bag the team championship trophy with a four-round output of 554, ahead of South Korea (557), which finished with the silver, and China (558) with the bronze.
Unsurprisingly, Ms. Saso was very happy to have made it a successful initial foray in the Asian Games for the Philippines, underscoring how her and their team’s hard work paid dividends.
“I feel very happy. I really don’t know what to say. My experience here the whole week has been wonderful,” said Ms. Saso after their gold conquest.
“I just never lost faith in myself and I never doubted this team from the beginning. We are all fighters and we really fought hard for our country,” she added.
Ms. Saso’s and Team Philippines’ gold medals were in addition to the country’s medal haul after that of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won on Aug. 21.
Ms. Panganiban’s bronze, meanwhile, was the 10th for the Philippines after those won by the taekwondo poomsae men’s and women’s teams, taekwondo jin Pauline Lopez, wushu’s Agatha Wong and Divine Wally, BMX cyclist Daniel Caluag, jiu-jitsu’s Meggie Ochoa, and pencak silat’s Jeffrey Rhey Loon and Dines Dumaan. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo