Philippine 'golden golfers' want to replicate Asiad feat in SEAG
Yuka Saso, Lois Kaye Go and Bianca Pagdangnan pose with their gold medals in the Asian Games women’s golf event at the Pondok Indah Golf and Country Club in Jakarta. Joey Mendoza
JAKARTA – No sooner had the Philippine golf team heard the national anthem was played here twice that a next mission came to mind — the Southeast Asian Games at home next year.
A two-gold haul here, why not do the same or even better before the Filipino gallery in the SEA Games? They were saying.
The team would surely go for it, but there’s a challenge.
“I hope we can keep this team but it’s going to be hard because of their university duties,” said coach Rick Gibson, referring to the commitment of a good number of his team to their school teams in the US NCAA.
Bianca Pagdanganan is hooked up with University of Arizona while Lois Kaye Go is now with South Carolina after a stint with Boston College.
For their 18th Asian Games success, a big key was preparation where they competed in all internationals tournaments they’re available to compete.
Gibson hopes they could do the same for the SEA Games where Team Philippines also struck with a two-gold harvest the last time it was held in the country in 2005 over at The Country Club in Calubang.
Juvic Pagunsan then ruled the men’s individual competition and led Jay Bayron, Michael Bibat and Marvin Dumandan to the team championship.
Except for Rupert Zaragoza who is reportedly mulling to turn pro soon, the rest of the team could still be there to form a crack squad for the SEA Games.
There’s Asiad double-gold medal winner Yuka Saso, who has no plans of turning pro in the near future.
She said she’s privileged to wear the national colors and be able to deliver glory to the nation on her triumphant rounds at the Pondok Indah Golf Course.
Guaranteed of P6 million on incentives from her gold in the individual play plus her share from the other P6 million incentives from the gold in the team play, Sason said: “It’s just the bonus.”
From the start and even when staring at a four-stroke deficit going into the final 18 holes, the Fil-Japanese golfer was hopeful of her chance.
“I know the course. I’ve played the course before. Alam ko magiiskoran nang mababa and I know that we can also go low,” said Saso.
Saso and Pagdanganan came through with their super low scores – a pair of six-under 66s – in the fateful final round, thus, making a historic feat of a sweet sweep of the Asiad women’s golf.
Saso is 17, Pagdanganan is 20 while Go is 19. They’re likely good to go for the same feat in the Manila SEAG next year.