Bianca 22nd; Yuka, Dottie far off

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Bianca 22nd; Yuka, Dottie far off
Bianca Pagdanganan

MANILA, Philippines — Bianca Pagdanganan shot an even-par 72 to stay close to the leaders at the start of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Thursday in Sammamish, Washington.

Pagdanganan mixed four birdies with four bogeys at the Sahalee Country Club’s tight layout to take a share of 22nd spot early in the $10.4-million event.

With nines of 35 and 37, the power-hitting Pagdanganan is four strokes off veteran American Lexi Thompson (68).

Fil-Japanese and reigning US Open champion Yuka Saso (74) and Dottie Ardina (75) found themselves down at 54th and 70th.

Pagdanganan, Ardina and Saso are poised to finish strong in this prestigious major to build momentum going to next month’s Paris Olympics.

The qualifiers for the 60-player field in the Olympiad will be finalized Monday with Pagdanganan currently 35th in the world rankings, Ardina 55th and Saso, who will represent Japan, in sixth.

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