Bianca happy despite 2-over

Bianca Pagdanganan did a good job attacking the par-5 holes, but stumbled with six bogeys to shoot a two-over par 74 Friday at the start of the LPGA Drive On championship at the Inverness Golf Club in Toledo, Ohio.

The 22-year-old Southeast Asian Games champion, who teed off in the back nine, birdied the last of the three par-5 holes, the dogleg No. 8 to take a share of 48th spot, eight shots behind solo leader Danielle Kang of the United States.

Pagdanganan eagled No. 2 and birdied No. 13, the two other par-5 holes in the course — but made four bogeys in a five-hole stretch beginning on the 15th.

Known for her prodigal length, Pagdanganan cut the dogleg, 487-yard second hole and set up the eight-foot eagle putt with a nine-iron from 150 yards.

After her eagle 3 on the second hole, the Filipino rookie had back-to-back bogeys before finishing the last five holes at one-under.

“I know I could’ve done better, but with how I slightly struggled with ball striking today, I’m pretty satisfied with my round,” said Pagdanganan whose stint is sponsored by ICTSI, Skyflakes and Ping.
“It could’ve easily gone a different direction so I’m happy with how I held on to my game,” she added.

Describing her string of bogeys, Pagdanganan said she wasn’t putting herself in good spots.

“I did miss some short putts, but I also did have tough shots from the rough and the bunker,” said Pagdanganan who went straight to the range after the round.

Tied with 20 others, the Filipino ace is well inside the cut-off mark — low 70 including ties.

California-based Cariss Guce shot a 75 for joint 69th, but Dottie Ardina, the other Filipina field, was in danger of missing the cut after struggling with a 78.

Guce, 30, made only one birdie against four bogeys while Ardina had two birdies against two bogeys and three double bogeys.

Meanwhile, Kang produced a flawless six-under par 66 to take a one-shot lead over England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff who was also bogey-free.

The 27-year-old Kang showed no signs of rustiness after the Tour’s long layoff, making three birdies and six pars to reach the turn on three under.

Three more birdies down the stretch, including a birdie on the last capped an impressive round for the 2017 Women’s PGA Championship winner.

“Bogey-free, six under, I feel pretty good,” Kang said afterwards. “There was no hot streak, it was kind of consistent. My caddie and I haven’t worked together in six months, so it was fun to be out there.”

This week’s 54-hole tournament is taking place without spectators, a novelty that Kang said she was still getting used to.

“I would definitely think it’s calmer, more level headed. Maybe that’s good for me,” Kang said. “But I also really like the fans. Today was very mellow. I’m pretty sure that’s the fans not being around. I also really love it when there are a lot of roars.”

A crowded leaderboard lurks just behind Kang and Ewart Shadoff. Frenchwoman Celine Boutier is tied for third with South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace after both women carded four-under-par 68s.

Three players, including Lydia Ko, Lee Minjee and Amy Olson share fifth at three under.

New Zealander Ko’s round included a birdie on the last two holes after her only bogey of the day.

The 23-year-old former world number one said she simply relieved to be playing again.

“It’s nice to just be playing,” Ko said. “I saw some of the girls and I was like, ‘Man, it’s nice to not see you through a virtual app or just on social media.’ It’s nice to just be able to see them.”

Ko revealed she had spent her time off practising in Florida, often playing alongside fellow professionals Anne van Dam and Lindy Duncan.

“We played for push-ups a lot of times,” said Ko. “If somebody made a birdie the other had to do push-ups. We were getting physically stronger at the same time.”

Date: August 2, 2020 | Newspaper: Tribune | Source: