Pagdanganan forces 3-way tie with 70
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - August 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Amateur Bianca Pagdanganan failed to sustain a fiery start but birdied the last hole to save a 70 and tie Korean Min A Yoon and Ana Ruiz Laphond of Mexico in the third round of the LPGA and Symetra Tour Qualifying Tournament Stage 1 in various courses in Rancho Mirage, California Saturday.

Just a stroke behind halfway leader Riley Rennell of the US, Pagdanganan birdied three of the first eight holes of the Arnold Palmer layout to wrest control but stumbled with three bogeys against a birdie in a nine-hole stretch from No. 9, needing to birdie the closing par-5 hole to salvage a 34-36 and gain a piece of the lead at 207.

Laphond and Min also turned in their own versions of 70s, setting the stage for a shootout in the final 18 holes with Bethany Wu of the US (67) and Aussie Hira Naveed (69) just two strokes adrift at 209s and Americans Allie Knight (72) and Rennell (74) another shot farther back at 210.

The final round of the first elims stage will be played at the Dinah course where Pagdanganan, bronze medalist in the 2018 Asian Games, anchored her superb campaign with an eagle-spiked 67 in the second round which she hopes to match to gain a crack at low medal honors.

Daniella Uy, meanwhile, bucked a three-bogey mishap in the first eight holes with four birdies in the next eight to card a 71 and safely make the 54-hole cut at 222 with a 215 for joint 36th.

A total of 151 players from the starting field of 353 advanced with Chanelle Avaricio and Pauline del Rosario failing to make the grade with 75-229 and 77-230, respectively.

A former Philippine Ladies Open champion, Pagdanganan has taken a positive approach in overcoming pressure and facing the challenges posed by some of the leading pros and amateurs in the world.

“It’s obviously pretty intense and kind of nerve-wracking because you’re up against good golfers,” said Pagdangangan, a member of the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf National Championship team at Univ. of Arizona.

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