Bianca trades length for accuracy
Bianca Pagdanganan
Bianca trades length for accuracy
Dante Navarro ( - August 6, 2020 - 1:45pm

MANILA, Philippines – Forget the 300-yard barrier. Despite a forecast of fine weather in the next four days and given the length of the Highland Meadows Golf Club, Bianca Pagdanganan said she would be keeping her driver in the bag most of the time.

Instead, the power-hitting Filipina shotmaker would be opting for a rather conservative play in an attempt to go low and contend in the $1.7 million Marathon Classic, which gets under way Thursday in Sylvania, Ohio (Friday, Manila time).

“Highland Meadows (6476 yards) is shorter but narrower than Inverness Club (6852 yards) and the greens are pretty soft. I think the challenge is definitely trying to keep the ball in the fairway and trying to hit the greens,” said Pagdanganan, who outdrove the Drive On Championship field in Toledo last week with a 295-yard norm to spark conversations of her going for the 300-yard fence this week.

But with the bunkers coming into play in most holes and Highland Meadows’ last line of defense proving to be a lot more challenging, the SEA Games double gold medalist said emphasis would be on accuracy rather than length in a bid to improve on her joint 28th finish in her maiden pro tournament last week.

“The weather this week should be nice and sunny but I won’t be hitting a lot of drivers because I’ll be putting bunkers into play or I’ll be running out of fairway,” Pagdanganan told The STAR. “It’s going to be challenging because the greens are much smaller than the ones at Inverness.”

She hopes to get going on a practically straightaway 365-yard No. 1 at 7:11 a.m. with American Jennifer Chang and Daniela Darquea of Ecuador although a slew of stars are also all geared up for a cutthroat battle for fame and fortune in the last of back-to-back championships in Ohio marking the return of LPGA Tour after more than four months of hiatus due to the global health crisis.

Headlining the field are last week’s winner and now world No. 2 Danielle Kang and fellow Americans Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson and Lizettle Salas, Minjee Lee and Lydia Ko of Australia, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, Amy Yang of South Korea, England’s Jodi Shadoff and Chinese Yu Liu and former Major winners Angela Stanford and Brittany Lang of the US and Swede Pernilla Lindberg.

Dottie Ardina is also out for redemption after a missed cut stint at Drive On while Fil-Am Clariss Guce seeks to atone for her tied for 64th finish last week.

Still, focus will be on the promising 22-year-old rookie from QC.

“I’m just going to have fun and focus on my game plan this week,” she added.

When asked if her power game had sparked some talks among the veterans and the upcoming stars heading to the Marathon Classic, the 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist said: “No, not really. I haven’t really talked to anyone nor has anyone really mentioned it to me. I guess it’s pretty cool.”

But the University of Arizona product hopes to finally draw their attention this week, not much with her new game plan but more so with her gift rarely seen on a rookie campaigner on the world’s premier ladies circuit.

“I just really enjoy ripping it off the tee,” said Pagdanganan, who blasted a monster 337-yard drive on the par-5 No. 2 of Inverness and holed out with an eight-foot eagle with relative ease.

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