Dottie makes British Open
Dottie Ardina
STAR/File
Dottie makes British Open
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2020 - 12:00am

Finishes tied for 20th in LPGA CLassic

MANILA, Philippines — Dottie Ardina charged back strong from an early stumble and closed out with a four-under 67 to salvage a share of 20th place while Bianca Pagdanganan ended up tied for 59th in the Marathon LPGA Classic won by American Danielle Kang in Sylvania Sunday.

Ardina’s fiery finish likewise netted the Canlubang pro a berth in next week’s British Women’s Open in Troon, Scotland as the Marathon Classic offered slots to the Top 10 players who are not yet qualified for the major event. The Pinay ace finished eighth out of the 10.

She will be the first Filipina to compete in the prestigious British Open since Jennifer Rosales finished tied for fourth in 2002.

Taking a backseat to Pagdanganan’s impressive 36-hole start, the 26-year-old Ardina bravely worked her way back from as far back as 87th in the first round of the $1.7 million event, 58th halfway through and 49th after 54 holes of the event that capped the back-to-back championships in Ohio and marked the re-start of the world’s premier ladies circuit after a long hiatus due to the pandemic.

The Canlubang pro actually fell farther back with a bogey on No. 5 in the final round but found her touch in time, birdying four of the next eight then holing out with another birdie on the par-5 18th to churn out an impressive 33-34 card.

Counting her 72, 70 and 69 in the first three rounds, Ardina assembled a six-under 278 to tie Chinese Xiyu Lin (68), Stephanie Meadow (68) of Northern Ireland, Korean Jenny Shin (69) and Taiwan’s Peiyun Chen (72) at 20th. Each pocketed $18,138 (P888,762) with Ardina redeeming herself from a missed cut in the Drive On Championship in Toledo last week.

She failed to advance at Inverness Club since she came to the US rusty and groping for form following over two months of being idle due to lockdown. She knocked off the rust by playing practice rounds, putting emphasis on her short game.

She also battled through tough weather conditions at Drive On but got her competitive blood flowing again. Though she started off slow in the first two days at Marathon Classic, the many-time US Kids champion made it to the weekend play, spending extra time on the range Friday.

Pagdanganan, meanwhile, hardly recovered from a disastrous 77 that dropped her to 62nd after starting the third round at joint eighth although she closed out with back-to-back birdies to save par-71. She ended up at tied for 59th with five others and received $4,125 (P202,125) after taking her first paycheck of $6,862 (P336,238) for finishing joint 28th at Drive On.

The 22-year-old SEA Games double-gold medalist hit two other birdies (Nos. 2 and 13) but fumbled with a couple of double bogeys, the kind of mishaps that ruined her third-round bid at the Highland Meadows Golf Club.

“I missed it long right behind the green and the pin was back right,” said Pagdanganan of her tee-shot on the par-3 No. 6. “I tried to hit a flop but it rolled all the way down and was left with a 50-foot putt then I three-putted.”

Kang pounced on erstwhile leader Lydia Ko’s double-bogey mishap on the last hole to snatch a one-stroke victory on a 68-269 card worth $255,000 in a big follow-up to her victory at Drive On, also via one-shot over France’s Celine Boutier.

DOTTIE ARDINA
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