Pagdanganan fires 68, trails leader by two

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Pagdanganan fires 68, trails leader by two
Bianca Pagdanganan

MANILA, Philippines — Power-hitting Pinay Bianca Pagdanganan fired a four-under 68 to storm into contention at the start of the Mizuho Americas Open Thursday in Jersey City.

Pagdanganan, who hit 11 fairways on her 285-yard average off the tee, shared second spot with Japanese Mao Saigo, Australian Gabriela Ruffels and American Andrea Lee as they trailed Korean rookie So Mi Lee (66) by two.

Lee mixed eight birdies against two bogeys to zoom to the top of the leaderboard hours after coming in as second alternate following the withdrawal of Maja Stark due to illness.

Fil-Japanese Yuka Saso, meanwhile, matched par to find herself at joint 41st and on the projected cutline after the first 18 holes at the Liberty National Golf Club.

Pagdanganan set the tone for her strong start with back-to-back birdies on the back nine. She then offset bogeys on Nos. 16 and 4 with birdies on the 17th and first before closing with birdies on Nos. 5 and 9.

The ICTSI-back golfer finished her round with 24 putts despite missing eight greens.

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