YUKA Saso, Harmie Constantino, Annyka Pineda-Cayabyab, Nicole Abelar, Tomita Arejola, Kayla Lorenz and Kyla Nocum have just installed themselves instant golf celebrities.
And they did it in style.
By pooling their talents together to power Pradera to the overall championship in the just-ended PAL Ladies Interclub, they established several spectacular feats worth remembering.
At the plush and exclusive Cebu Country Club in Banilad, Cebu, Pradera’s lasses put up a class act never seen from any squad in the past 12 years of the tournament known unofficially as the national team golf championship for women.
Led by the long-hitting, sweet-swinging Yuka Saso, Pradera broke records in a critically-acclaimed Cinderella finish for the newcomer team from Lubao, Pampanga.
The Fil-Japanese Saso, only 16 but endlessly showing a veteran’s poise to the eternal delight of her benefactor George Blaylock, shattered par back-to-back to almost single-handedly make Pradera the undisputed champ even with still two rounds left in the 72-hole event.
Going into the third round, Pradera had become virtually unreachable, Saso’s heroics ably backed up by her teammates as though they’ve been together as a unit for so long when they were only assembled by coach Norman Sto. Domingo just three weeks back.
Establishing a 36-hole total of 331 points, Pradera’s 34-point, two-day margin was more than enough cushion to end the six-year-old stranglehold of Manila Southwoods-Masters.
With equally tremendous closing-round totals to complete the loop’s first wire-to-wire finish, Pradera won by a smashing 43 points—a record.
Aside from spearheading the team victory, Saso also ran away with the individual trophy and then said, to the consternation of her rivals, “I’ll play two more years here before turning pro.”
And since Pradera sent an all-teenager team, there is now the specter of a dynasty, forcing future foes to strengthen their squads to contend.
But if the historic victory made Saso & Co. catapult Pradera to the national golf consciousness, the bigger picture would be that these tough teeners had placed the country’s future in the sport safe and secure.
Cheers also to the JJB-led PAL, a perennial discoverer of tomorrow’s golf stars.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2017.
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