OLYMPIC hopeful Bianca Pagdanganan will play in a tune-up event before making her US Women’s Open debut next week as she sees action in the Volunteers of America Classic teeing off tomorrow (Thursday in the US) at the Old American Golf Club in Colony, Texas.
A rookie on the US LPGA tour, Pagdanganan will vie in the four-day tournament offering a total pot of $2.75 million (roughly P84 million) at the par-71, 6,475-yard layout located within the lakeside city 45.7 kilometers northwest of Dallas.
Among those making up the crack field is South Korean Jin Young Ko, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, and comebacking Korean Inbee Park (No. 5), who won the tournament five years ago and is bidding to be the third player to win twice in the 2020 season.
A double gold medalist in last year’s 30th Southeast Asian Games, Pagdanganan is aiming to boost her current No. 40 standing in the International Golf Federation Olympic qualifying rankings. The top 60 players in the June 28, 2021 cut-off for women will vie in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
She has dipped slightly and fell one rung lower in the Rolex ratings at No. 147. She intends to do well in the event after a two-week break since tying for 34th in the Pelicans Women’s Championship in Belleair, Florida.
Pagdanganan will be reunited next week with former national teammate Yuka Saso when they make their maiden appearance in the US Women’s Open slated Dec. 10-13 at the Champions Golf Club in neighboring Houston, Texas.
Saso emerged as the top money winner in the just concluded Japanese LPGA tour with 93,891,000 yen (P43.4 million) in earnings and second in the Mercedes rankings after finishing in a four-way tie for sixth at the JPLGA Tour Championship in Miyazaki, Japan.