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Pagdanganan, Ardina open Q-Series drive

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Pagdanganan, Ardina open Q-Series drive
Bianca Pagdanganan Dottie Ardina
AFP / Symetra Tour File

MANILA, Philippines – Bianca Pagdanganan kicks off her bid in the morning wave with Canada’s Alena Sharp and Aussie Sarah Jane Smith while Dottie Ardina gears up a tougher challenge in a late tee-off kicking off the punishing 144-hole LPGA Q-Series firing off Thursday  (Friday, Manila time) at the Magnolia Grove Golf’s Crossing and Falls courses in Mobile, Alabama.

Pagdanganan, Sharp and Smith tangle at 8:36 a.m., all looking for a strong start and the needed momentum in this kind of cutthroat competition, which stakes only the Top 45-plus-ties berths among 110 bidders for LPGA status for 2022.

Ardina, on the other hand, drew a 10:37 a.m. flight, bracing for a demanding test not just from Selena Costabile and Jaclyn Lee, both of Canada, but also from a course that looks so daunting with its hazards and unpredictable surface.

But the ICTSI-backed Filipina pair are ready just like the rest of the field, headed by Thai ace Atthaya Thitikul, who at 14 became the youngest to win a pro tournament (Ladies European Tour’s Thailand Championship) in 2017, amateur Gina Kim and Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, the medalists in the LPGA Q-School Stage 1 and 2, respectively, talented Taiwanese amateur sisters Yu Chiang Hou and Yu Sang Hou, and former British Women’s Open champion Hinako Shibuno and fellow Japanese Ayaka Furue.

Thitikul, also the youngest winner of the Race to Costa del Sol, the LET’s season-long Order of Merit, flaunts her form against Beth Wu of the US and Chinese ace Ruoning Yin at 7:41 a.m. while Kim tangles with fellow American Kristen Gillman and Canadian Maddie Szeryk at 9:53 a.m., and Roussin-Bouchard collides with Thai Prima Thammaraks and Becca Huffer of the US at 9:31 a.m.

The Hou sisters are also coming into the event in high spirits with Yu-Chiang drawing Korean Yaeeun Hong and Spain’s Nuria Iturrioz at 8:03 a.m., and Yu Sang trades shots with Germany’s Laura Escallon and Swede Linnea Johansson at 8:58 a.m.

Shibuno, on the other hand, plays Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen and American Gabby Lemieux at 7:52 a.m. while Furue, one of the leading players in the LPGA of Japan Tour, mixes it up with American Jennifer Chang and Sophie Hausmann of Germany.

Pagdanganan posted a best joint 12th place finish in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational but ended up way down at 125th in the LPGA rankings while Ardina finished at 109th also marked by a shared 12th place effort in the Women’s PGA Championship.

Ardina and Pagdanganan are trying to join Yuka Saso in the world’s premier ladies circuit with the Fil-Japanese, who finished No. 16 in the Race to CME Globe Season, securing a five-year membership status after scoring a historic major victory in the US Women’s Open last June.

Week Two of the two-part series will be held at the Highland Oaks Golf Course on December 9-12.

BIANCA PAGDANGANAN DOTTIE ARDINA GOLF
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