DAVAO CITY – Asian Games champion Yuka Saso powered Pradera Verde to its second straight Philippine Airlines Ladies Interclub team championship Saturday, scoring a tournament-best 59 points at the Rancho Palos Verdes Golf and Country Club.
The 17-year-old Fil-Japanese eagled the par-5, 12th hole and made four birdies against a lone bogey to anchor Pradera Verde’s final day charge that overhauled Manila Southwoods’ three-point lead.
Rianne Malixi, showing a lot of promise at a tender age of 11, closed out with 52 points and Malaysian Eliza Mae Kho chipped in 50 as Pradera finished with 161 points for a 13-point victory. Malaysian Vinisha Gunaseelan did not count with a 48.
“We’re going for a three-peat next year,” declared Pradera Verde captain Norman Sto. Domingo who scrambled to form a team after losing six players from last year’s champion team.
Depending on their availability, Pradera Verde is expected to bring back the Malaysians next year, according to team owner Lubao Mayor Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab.
“We would also like to tap young Filipinas, too,” said Pineda-Cayabyab.
Sto. Domingo made special mention of Malixi who bounced back from a 47-point debut to submit a two-over par 74 Saturday. “Watch out for Rianne. She’s young, but very talented,” he said.
Sto. Domingo also paid tribute for Manila Southwoods for putting up a good fight.
“They are well-balanced and better prepared this year,” Sto. Domingo said.
After setting the pace in the first three rounds, Manila Southwoods chose the wrong time to play its worst round.
Marielle Isabela Tee was the only Southwoods players to score 50 points as top gun Maria Sofia Chabon fell prey to a bacterial infection and failed to count with 45.
Drawing a pair of 47s from Samantha Dizon and Laurea Duque, Manila Southwoods limped home with 145 points.
“We still feel like we won out here, considering (the margin) last year,” said Southwoods skipper Claire Ong, referring to their 43-point defeat in Cebu City.
Major sponsors for the 13th PAL Ladies Interclub include Airbus, Bombardier, People Asia, UM Broadcasting Network and Primax Broadcasting Network.
Other sponsors are TFC, Mastercard, Resorts World, SEDA Hotel, SM Supermalls and Banco de Oro. Donors are Asia Brewery and Philippine National Bank.
The final Championship Division results:
Pradera Verde 618 (151-156-150-161), Manila Southwoods 605 (156-154-150-145) (pal)