SUSTAINED by her long-hitting prowess and a sharp short game, Bianca Pagdanganan fired a second straight 65 yesterday (Saturday in the US) and wheeled into contention in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Arominink Golf Club in Newton Square, Pennsylvania.
Pagdanganan had the best third-round score over the par-70, 7,237-yard layout for a 54-hole tally of 207 and stood in solo fifth place, four shots behind veteran South Korean pacesetter Sei Young Kim, who carded 67-203 in the $4.3 million (roughly P145 million) tournament.
“It’s pretty surreal. I didn’t think I was going to get into a major this year as a rookie. I was just trying to enjoy my rookie year and learn as much as I can and have fun and enjoy this whole experience,” the Filipino US LPGA tour rookie said after her spectacular play the last two days.
Over in Japan, Filipino-Japanese Yuka Saso bounced back from a 75 in the first round with an eagle-aided 68 and stayed in the hunt in the rain-delayed Stanley Ladies Golf Championship at the Tomei Country Club in Shizuoka.
Pagdanganan’s compatriot, former prodigy Dottie Ardina, failed to make the halfway cut after shooting 76 and 77, respectively.
Pagdanganan, a 2018 Asian Games gold medalist, leads the tour with an average distance of 287 yards and exploited that edge with telling effect over the long layout in scoring nines of 32-33 to stay within striking distance of the top pot of $545,000 (P26.3 million).