Pagdanganan bullish in upcoming LPGA campaign

Dante Navarro - Philstar.com
Pagdanganan bullish in upcoming LPGA campaign
Bianca Pagdanganan

MANILA, Philippines – Bianca Pagdanganan is wrapping up her month-long LPGA Tour break here, recharged and confident of reaching peak form by the time she resumes her campaign in the world’s premier ladies circuit next month.

The 23-year-old Filipina, who clinched the Tour’s driving honors in her rookie year in a pandemic-disrupted season, is set to play in the Gainbridge LPGA in Orlando, Florida on February 25-28, hopeful to feed on some confidence-boost after a fine showing in 2020 spiked by a third place finish in a regular event and a joint ninth effort in a major championship.

“Those made me good and confident,” said Pagdanganan. “I’ll go for more Top 10s but I still have a long way to go.”

But with her awesome power and a vastly improved short game, things are looking for up for the 2019 SEA Games double gold medalist, who joined the growing roster of Smart-backed athletes.

She is slated to leave for the US next week and will go through quarantine protocols, ready and eager to slug it out with the world’s best.

“I’ve been practicing lately for my build-up (for the LPGA),” said the ICTSI-backed ace, whose preparation was focused on ball control for consistency.

Coach Carito Villaroman has underscored the need for his ward to work more on controlling her ball flight, saying: “I’m trying to get her to fade the ball with her short clubs because that would translate to more consistency and greens in regulation hit.” 

“I believe the results will come as we focus more on the improvements needed,” said Villaroman.

Pagdanganan finished at No. 88 in greens in regulation with a 65.1% norm in 10 tournaments.

Villaroman, a former three-time Junior World champion, also helped fine-tune the Univ. of Arizona product’s short game and putting the last four weeks or so, virtually making her A-ready for the upcoming mission.

“My putting needs improvement. It’s always been putting,” said Pagdanganan, who wound up No. 33 with a 29.74 putting average in 35 rounds.

With the LPGA putting up 34 money-rich tournaments spread across North America, Europe and Asia this year, Pagdanganan braces for a grueling campaign but hopes to play better, stronger in tournaments with stacked field.

“I think my chances are better if the roster is bigger,” said the former Philippine Ladies Open champion. “Having much experience will help my campaign.”

Billed as a revolutionary figure in women’s pro golf who isn’t afraid to use her power, Pagdanganan’s outlook has never been bullish, particularly with a new major backer.

“I want to have a purpose for the whole journey,” she said. “Now, my journey will be with Smart.”

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