Lady golfers fight back to claim team, individual honors

Lady golfers fight back to claim team, individual honors

Bianca Pagdangnan

JAKARTA – Sweet sweep.

The Philippine belles of the fairways pulled off a performance for the generations, surging to golden finishes with an incredible final round drive to sweep the gold medals in women’s golf in the 18th Asian Games here yesterday.

Four down in individual derby and nine back in team competition with 18 holes to play, Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go put on a performance to remember and produce a result no one would perhaps forget in the next 10 Asian Games.

Saso best exemplified the Filipino’s grit, spunk and big fighting heart, bouncing back from a costly double bogey mishap on No. 17 with a stirring eagle feat on the closing par-5 hole for a six-under 66, capping her fightback from four down to a three-stroke triumph in individual play.

Her strong windup likewise proved too much to handle for erstwhile leader Liu Wenbo of China, who collapsed with a closing 9 for that huge six-shot swing that enabled the ace Fil-Japanese shotmaker to run away with the individual gold in the 18th staging of the quadrennial continental meet at the Pondok Indah layout here yesterday.

“I feel very happy. I really don’t know what to say,” said Saso.

Pagdanganan shook off a shaky bogey-birdie-bogey stint from No. 3 with a cluster of birdies from No. 6, rattling off seven to match Saso’s 66, their brilliant combined 12-under card in the last 18 holes powering the Philippines from nine down to another three-stroke victory over South Korea for the other gold in team competition.

Pagdanganan, the former Philippine Ladies Open champion and a sophomore at University of Virginia, also took the bronze in individual play in a best-ever finish by a Philippine team in any top-level golf competition.

Saso finished with a 13-under 275 that included a 71 and two 69s, beating Liu, who held sway until closing out with that unlikely quadruple bogey for a 73 and 278. Pagdanganan and Ayaka Furue shared third place at 279.

Go finished with a 73 for a 292 aggregate.

Anchoring a team’s final round charge on the big stage was actually nothing new for Saso, who also won the individual crown and steered the Philippines to team championship in the World Junior Girls in Canada in 2016.

The Phl’s closing 132 and a 554 also netted them the gold in team play with Korea pouncing on China’s meltdown to snare silver at 557 after a 137.

Du Mohan also hung tough majority of the final round but also cracked under pressure, hobbling with a bogey-double bogey finish for a 74, pulling down the Chinese to third at 558 after a 145.

Meanwhile, the Phl men’s team wound up joint seventh with Indonesia at 863 after a 218 with Japan taking the gold at 842. Korea took the silver at 223 while China also settled for the bronze at 226.

Lloyd Go shot a 69 for joint 11th at 285 with Ruperto Zaragosa also firing a 69 for a share of 14th at 286. Weiwei Gao and Luis Castro finished with identical 80s with the former ending up 35th at 296 and the latter at joint 51st at 307.