Bianca keeps rookie status in LPGA

Dante Navarro - The Philippine Star
Bianca keeps rookie status in LPGA
Bianca Pagdanganan
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Bianca Pagdanganan will likely return to competitive play in March or April still as a rookie as the LPGA Tour restricted the players’ status in 2020 with the rankings carried into the new season.

Pagdanganan sneaked back into the country last week for the New Year holidays and played a round the other day at a top course in Cavite. She enjoyed every minute of her break following her maiden season in the world’s premier ladies circuit.

But the ICTSI-backed ace frets over the possibility of encountering problems when she returns to the US at the end of the month due to border lockdowns in an effort to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus variant, which has spread to a dozen of countries, including the US. It has infected people in Colorado, California and Florida, which will host the kickoff leg of a 34-tournament 2021 calendar on Jan. 21-24 in Lake Buena Vista in Orlando.

In a recent announcement, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan outlined broad revisions on how the Tour will treat the 2020 and 2021 seasons, including the players’ status and qualifying. Rookies in 2020 will remain rookies in 2021.

“Pursuant to the goals of presenting as many playing opportunities as possible while being fair to everyone in the abbreviated (2020) season, the LPGA Tour will essentially freeze players’ status in 2020 with that (status) carried into 2021,” said Whan.

He stressed that the reason for the freezing of the players’ status is because players were not given the season they earned through their 2019 results due to the global health crisis that led to the cancellation of a number of money-rich tournaments.

Pagdanganan made quite an impact in her rookie season, winning the driving honors with her 284-yard norm. She also posted eight consecutive cuts made, spiked by a joint ninth-place effort in her first major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and a best third-place feat in the LPGA Drive On Championship.

She, however, missed the cut in her second crack at a major, the US Women’s Open, and closed out her stint with a tied for 68th finish in the CME Group Tour Championship. She is currently ranked No. 150 in the world after starting out at No. 798.

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