Saso shines as Pradera PAL keeps crown
DAVAO—Playing very well on a day that truly mattered, Pradera Verde got what it needed from the talented Yuka Saso to shove aside a challenger to its throne and remain queens of the Philippine Airlines Ladies Interclub.
With the Asian Games gold medalist Saso shooting an eagle-spiked five-under-par 67 worth 59 points, Pradera amassed a closing 161 to turn what was expected to be a tight final round contest with Manila Southwoods into a rout, repeating as champion by 13 points.
Eleven-year-old wonder Rianne Malixi contributed 52 and Eliza Kho added 50 for Pradera, which tallied a 72-hole 618 at Rancho Palos Verdes here to start a dynasty of its own and frustrate Southwoods for the second straight year.
Marielle Tee scored 51 and Sam Dizon and Laurea Duque added 47 each for Southwoods, which threw away the 45 of its bacteria-stricken ace, Sofia Chabon, for 145 and 605 overall.
“Definitely, we’re going for three next year,” Pradera coach Norman Sto. Domingo, who recruited four Malaysians to back up Saso and Annyka Pineda-Cayabyab this year, said.
The way Pradera won this time was far different from the manner which it did in Cebu last year, where it opened up a 21-point lead after the first 18 holes with the final margin ballooning to 43—the biggest in the tournament’s history.
And that is why Southwoods remained positive after the loss.
“Look, they’re kids,” non-playing Southwoods skipper Claire Ong told the Inquirer. “The way they played this year compared to last year makes this a win for us.”
“This is something we can learn very much from,” added Ong, whose wards led after each of the first three rounds.