Tokyo Olympics

Yuka Saso out to enjoy Olympic golf debut in Tokyo heat

Yuka Saso out to enjoy Olympic golf debut in Tokyo heat

ON A ROLL. Yuka Saso looks to sustain her strong play in the Olympics.

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Reigning US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso kicks off her Olympic golf campaign with fellow Philippine bet Bianca Pagdanganan

Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan begin their quest for an Olympic medal on Wednesday, August 4, at the Kasimugaseki Golf Club.

Saso and Pagdanganan teamed up to win an Asian Games gold for the Philippines in 2018 and now train their sights on a coveted Olympic medal which they’ll dispute against some of the best players in the world.

Pagdanganan tees off in the 7:52 a.m. flight with Ireland’s Leona Maguire and Finland’s Matilda Castren while Saso will be in the company of Canada’s Brooke Henderson and American Lexi Thompson, the same golfer she chased down on the way to the US Women’s Open title.

The 20-year old Saso, however, goes into the first round with a new man on his bag after regular caddie Lionel Matichuk was rushed to a hospital after suffering from heat stroke in a practice round on Tuesday.

In his place, national coach Miggy Alejandro will carry the bag for the world No. 8 ranked Fil-Japanese, at least for the first round.

Saso and Pagdanganan said the searing summer heat will pose a problem for most of the golfers.

“It’s very humid up here actually. It’s definitely a factor and you have to make sure you stay hydrated,” said Pagdanganan, who is the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour.

Saso said she’ll enjoy playing with Thompson in the first two rounds.

“I’m going to be playing against top players but I’ve been playing against great players in my past couple of tournaments so I’m going to enjoy it,” she said. –