Bianca, Yuka ready for pro debut
Bianca Pagdanganan
Bianca, Yuka ready for pro debut
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After serving flag and country in two major international competitions, Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso brace for more challenging, tougher missions as they go big-time against the big guns of the sport in two of the world’s leading circuits.

Pagdanganan, who capped a remarkable amateur career with a double-gold feat in the recent SEA Games, is honing up for her LPGA Tour debut against the world’s top players in two weeks time in Florida.

The 22-year-old Pagdanganan bucked overwhelming odds to hurdle the grueling LPGA Q-School series then capped her stint in the ranks by winning the SEAG individual gold and powering the Philippines to the team championship at Luisita last month.

The former Philippine Ladies Amateur Open champion also captured the bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games with Saso snatching the gold and the duo steering the country to the team gold in Jakarta.

Although Saso fell short of her LPGA Tour bid, she, however, made the grade in the LPGA of Japan Tour, the region’s premier women’s circuit which kicks off its new season in March.

Saso actually struggled in the final stage of the exacting JLPGA Qualifying Tour but rallied with a final-round 69 in chilly conditions to clinch one of the last cards. The 18-year-old Fil-Japanese initially was committed to play for the Georgia U Bulldogs but opted to turn pro instead of attending college after clinching her JLPGA card.

Two other Filipinas are set to compete abroad with Pauline del Rosario, also a former winner of the Philippine Ladies Open, slated to vie in the Hitachi Ladies Open, the kickoff leg of this year’s LPGA of Taiwan (TLPGA) beginning Jan. 17.

Del Rosario, who also won the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour Order of Merit on her rookie year in 2017, has earned a full-member status in the TLPGA.

Former US Girls’ Junior titlist Princess Superal, meanwhile, will again compete in Japan’s Step Up Tour in March.

But focus will surely be on Pagdanganan and Saso, who hope to mark their pro debuts in style following their impressive performances in the amateurs spiked by their memorable showings in the SEAG and Asiad.

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