Saso, Pagdanganan sustain rise in rankings

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    YUKA Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan continued to shine in the women’s professional golfing elite, reaching new highs in both the Rolex Women’s World rankings and International Golf Federation Olympic qualifying rankings released yesterday.

    Saso, the Japanese LPGA rookie sensation, cracked the top 50 of the Rolex rankings, rising seven notches to No. 48 with 74.95 points after her third-place finish in the 39th Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open at the Elleair Golf Club in Matsuyama, Japan over the weekend.

    Following her 34th place finish in the Pelican Women’s Championship in Belleair, Florida over the weekend, Pagdanganan also moved up eight places to 146th with 28.28 points in the ratings.

    Saso also moved up three places in the Olympic qualifying ratings to No. 22 while Pagdanganan moved up to No. 40 from No. 46 two weeks ago.

    Should both maintain their present course until the women’s Olympic qualifying cut-off on June 28, 2021, they will be the country’s standard-bearers in the Tokyo Olympic Games women’s golf event on Aug. 4 to 7 2021 at the Kasumagaseki Country Club in Saitama, Japan.

    Saso and Pagdanganan, who teamed up with Louise Kaye Go to sweep the individual and team gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, will play together as rookies in the US Women’s Open golf championship slated Dec. 10 to 13 at the Champions Golf Club course in Houston, Texas.

    Before heading for the US mainland, the Bulacan-born Saso is gearing up for the JPLGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup, the tour’s season-ending event, teeing off tomorrow at the par-72, 6,543-yard Miyazaki Country Club in the seaport city located 1,127.3 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.

    She is keen on wresting back the Mercedes women’s top spot from tour back-to-back champion Ayaka Furue, who also made her mark in the Rolex rankings by vaulting to No. 16 from No. 30 a week ago.

    Furue is at No. 1 with 1,131 points, nursing a slim 82.93-point edge over the second running Saso (1,048.85), who could overtake her Japanese rival if she bags the title for her third tour win.

    The two are also dueling for top money honors in the four-day, 100 million yen (roughly P46.1) tournament that offers a championship purse of 30 million yen (P13.8 million).