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Saso seeks 2nd straight title

In-form Yuka Saso goes for a second straight crown in as many weeks as she banners the field in the Philippine Amateur Open Match Play Golf Championship beginning today at the Orchard Golf and Country Club’s Player’s course in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

The 16-year-old Fil-Japanese is heavily fancied to romp off with another crown after scoring a record 13-stroke victory over Harmie Constantino in last week’s Phl Junior Amateur Open (Strokeplay) at Sherwood.

But experts believe Saso, also last year’s World Juniors Girls gold medalist, will be in for a different kind of challenge this week, the match play being an unpredictable format with anybody given an equal chance for the crown.

Constantino is also in the fold, hoping to get back at her fellow national team mainstay, along with Sophia Blanco, Kristine Torralba, Jona Magcalayo, Kayla Nocum, Junia Gabasa, Annika Guangko and Lizbeth Alcantara.

Five Koreans are also vying in the weeklong event, held as part of the PLDT Group National Amateur Golf Tour and sponsored by the MVP Sports Foundation and conducted by the National Golf Association of the Philippines, including Baek Yeun Jea, Kim Hui Won, Yang Ju Young and Kang Da Yeon.

The field clashes for the first two days in stroke play format with the top 32 in the boys division and top 16 in the girls’ side advancing to the knockout stage.

Bannering the boys’ field are former champion Rupert Zaragosa, Luis Castro, Dan Cruz, Carlo Gatmaytan, Airon Sorino, Don Petil, Jolo Magcalayo, Marc Lu and Kristoffer Anderson.

Back Seung Hyeon, Choi Da Bin and Won Yong Hwi will also be out to follow-up their compatriot Kim Joo Hyung’s title romp in the Phl Junior Amateur as they join the hunt in this week’s event backed by backed by Cignal and Metro Pacific Investment.