Pagdanganan sustain charge, moves to joint 19th after 69

Jan Veran - Philstar.com
Pagdanganan sustain charge, moves to joint 19th after 69
Bianca Pagdanganan of the Philippines plays her shot from the 11th tee during the second round of The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican at Pelican Golf Club on November 10, 2023 in Belleair, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images / AFP

MANILA, Philippines -- Bianca Pagdanganan continued to excel at the Blythefield Country Club course, leveraging her powerful game to birdie all but one of the four par-5s on her way to a 69 and a tie for 19th place in the Meijer LPGA Classic dominated by Grace Kim in Belmont, Michigan Saturday (Sunday Manila time).

Despite being nine strokes behind the leading Kim, Pagdanganan's third consecutive under-par round and a 54-hole total of eight-under 208 positioned her for a potential Top 10 finish in the $3-million championship, which serves as a precursor to next week's third major, the KPMG Women's PGA, in Washington.

Pagdanganan showcased not only her immense power but also her resilience. After a double-bogey on the first hole, which might have rattled a less determined player, she rebounded with birdies on the par-3 No. 5 and the par-5 8th. She overcame another setback on the ninth by recording four birdies on the back nine, finishing with a 37-32, including birdies on the 10th and 18th, both par-5s.

Although Pagdanganan, who earlier shot 71 and 68, struggled with her driver, missing five fairways and hitting only 12 greens in regulation, her superb putting performance, totaling 27 putts, allowed her to improve from tied 25th to a share of 19th place.

She trails the 10th place players — Ryan O’Toole, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap, Alexa Pano, and Alison Lee — by three strokes. However, given her current form, Pagdanganan is tipped to advance further and deliver her best in the final round of the 72-hole championship. This momentum could boost her confidence heading into the Women's PGA.

Kim fired a 66 to reach a 17-under total of 199, securing a five-stroke lead over Anna Nordqvist, Lexi Thompson, and three others, all tied at 204. Nordqvist and Thompson both carded 65s, joining Filipino-American Allisen Corpuz (68), Narin An (69) and Ally Ewing (71) in second place.

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