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Pagdanganan on the brink anew, fumbles with 75 in Ascendant LPGA golf tourney

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Pagdanganan on the brink anew, fumbles with 75 in Ascendant LPGA golf tourney
Bianca Pagdanganan

MANILA, Philippines – Bianca Pagdanganan went on another faulty start to an LPGA Tour campaign, limping with a birdie-less four-over 75 in tough conditions and finding herself on the edge of elimination in the Ascendant LPGA benefitting Volunteers of America led by Chinese Xiyu Lin in The Colony, Texas Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

Brimming with confidence following a joint 19th finish on a solid 63 finish in the Portland Classic in Oregon two weeks ago, Pagdanganan instead struggled in the afternoon wave in cold, windy play at the par-71 Old American Golf Club course, yielding four strokes without gaining any to fall to joint 91st in a starting field of 131.

She actually hung tough after nine holes despite an early mishap on the par-5 second hole as she parred the next seven but lost her rhythm and touch at the back, bogeying Nos. 12, 14 and 18 for a 36-39 round that left her two strokes below the projected cutoff line.

Still, the ICTSI-backed shotmaker is confident of bouncing back strong the way she did in Portland where she opened with a 73 but made it to the weekend play with a 71. She fired another one-under card then closed out with that stirring eagle-spiked 63 to salvage a Top 20 finish, her best in a season marred by eight missed cuts in 15 tournaments.

But she missed six fairways despite a subdued 258-yard driving norm, went out of regulation nine times and struggled on the firm surface with 31 putts. She also rescued just one par out of three bunker stints.

ICTSI teammate Yuka Saso, meanwhile, blew an impressive two-under card on back-to-back birdies from No. 13, stumbling with a double bogey on the par-3 No. 16 and dropping strokes on Nos. 2 and 7 for a 73 and a share of 60th, the projected cutoff score.

Like Pagdanganan, Saso made two bogeys from the bunkers and failed to reach regulation in eight other occasions. One of the tour’s noted big hitters, the 2021 US Women’s Open champion settled for a 256-yard clip and stayed in the hunt with a 29-putt performance.

Lin, meanwhile, bucked shaky driving that saw her miss six fairways with 27 putts. She also missed just four greens to fashion out a 65 card, one shot ahead of in-form Atthaya Thitikul and American Lizette Salas, who matched 66s.

The Thai ace kept the momentum of her playoff win over Danielle Kang in last week’s NW Arkansas Championship, hitting four birdies in a fiery backside start and adding two more in the first eight holes at the front.

The 19-year-old rising star, however, missed joining Lin on top with a bogey on the ninth.

But another victory this week will catapult Thitikul to World No. 1 after moving to No. 3 after notching her second LPGA win in Arkansas.

BIANCA PAGDANGANAN

GOLF

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