PH golf star Juvic Pagunsan locks up Tokyo Olympics berth

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 22) – A decade and a half after his debut in the professional golf scene, Juvic Pagunsan is now off to his first Olympic appearance.

The 43-year-old officially qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after the International Golf Federation released on Tuesday night (Philippine time) its Olympic rankings for male golfers.

Pagunsan is in the Top 60 golfers who will compete in Tokyo after he ranked 49th in the world Olympic rankings.

His Olympic ranking got a boost after he won the Mizuno Open on May 30.

National Golf Association of the Philippines Secretary General Bones Floro also confirmed Pagunsan's Olympic qualification, adding it is a proud moment for the Philippine golf community that they will be represented again in the prestigious quadrennial sports competition.

"We're very happy for Juvic because he's hell bent on representing his country. He himself is very proud, so how can we not be?" Floro told CNN Philippines.

Pagunsan has been a regular fixture in the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour, two of the prestigious professional golf tours in the continent, since he turned pro in 2006.

In the women's side, US Women's Open champion Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan will have to wait until June 28 to formalize their Tokyo Olympics stints.

The 19-year-old Saso is currently at No. 8 in the Olympic rankings, while Pagdanganan sits at the 42nd spot.

Pagunsan is the 13th Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. He will join pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, rower Cris Nievarez, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, air rifle shooter Jayson Valdez, weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando, and boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, and Carlo Paalam.