28 April, 2019: It is not often that you encounter a runaway train in golf. But that is exactly what the field contended with this week in the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship. Japanese star Yuka Yasuda soared head and shoulders above the rest for an emphatic victory in the second edition of this wonderful championship.
Here is the conversation Yasuda had with the R&A after winning the title.
Q. Yuka, how good was that, to win by eight shots, and really playing so well that you didn’t make any mistake? That was what I thought was the best part of the day. You didn’t make any mistakes. How good was that?
YUKA YASUDA: So today, my game was almost perfect. Actually, you know, for the second shot, I had two mistakes, but I could make a recovery so that was, you know … that brought my game of golf almost perfect, and then I could make a chance.
Q. I was going to ask you about the two pars on the 7th and the 9th hole. You made such a good start, and after that, you made those two pars on the 7th and the 9th hole. Was that important, or you thought that you were playing so well by that time that it would have happened anyway?
YUKA YASUDA: Actually, the 7th and 9th, I hit into the bunkers, so that was kind of one of the biggest trouble today. But I could make a nice up and down and I could save par, so kind of that was good momentum toward the back nine.
Q. When you came into this tournament, you played good golf in Augusta, as well, but were you feeling this confident that you will win, and like this? I mean, it’s not a win by just one or two shots. It’s a win by eight shots.
YUKA YASUDA: So leading by eight shots … obviously, it gave me confidence after finishing nicely at Augusta, and especially this tournament, we have a really strong field. That I could manage to play in the final group on Sunday, normally I kind of get a little bit nervous and a little bit picky, but today, I could enjoy my golf, so that was good.
Q. What was more important, the finish you had yesterday or the start you had today? You were 5-under for the last four holes yesterday, and you were 4-under for the first five holes today. Which was more important, according to you?
YUKA YASUDA: Today’s start was more important than yesterday’s final birdies.
Q. Why was that?
YUKA YASUDA: So, without yesterday, you know, I wouldn’t be able to win. But anyway, without the birdies yesterday, maybe I had to chase the leader, but chasing and being chased, both of them are really important and matters. But today I could make birdies where I had to make them, so that was good momentum toward the next holes.
Q. What is the plan after this? You said that obviously you’re going to turn professional. When are you planning to do that? Can you give us an idea, and will you play these two tournaments and then Augusta National Women’s Amateur again, which you have an entry into next year?
YUKA YASUDA: So, the biggest goal of this year is becoming a professional golfer in Japan, which would be probably in the fall, in autumn this year. But after finishing today’s championship, I could play in two majors as an amateur, so, I’m trying to do my best in two majors, and after that, hopefully I can become a professional in Japan in autumn.
Q. Also, you didn’t play too many tournaments at the end of last year, and I believe you had a back injury. Can you just tell us something about that, how you recovered from it, and how did you practise towards this tournament? Was this tournament a goal for you?
YUKA YASUDA: So, at the beginning of January this year, I had back pain, and so I withdrew from the tournament. After that, I couldn’t practise almost four months (weeks), so I was a little bit worried about not practising enough.
At the end of February, I started practising again, but I got Augusta, so I was very worried about it. My practice wasn’t enough, but at the end of the day, I came in third. So without practising, I came in third, so that gave me a little bit of confidence about it.
But during the times I couldn’t practise, I had training and also I was taking some rest, and so now I think taking rest, sometimes it’s important more than practising a lot. Even now, I’ve got a little bit of back pain, so I’m trying not to push myself too much, and sometimes I take less, so it’s balanced, yeah.
Q. Who is your golfing idol, and who would you like to receive a message after this victory?
YUKA YASUDA: My golfing idol is Ai Miyazato. What kind of message?
Q. Would you like to receive a message from her? Do you think you will receive a message from her?
YUKA YASUDA: I don’t think I’m receiving any message from her, but my idol is Ai Miyazato.