Bianca powers up Tokyo bid

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    BIANCA Pagdanganan never stops chasing her dream, and that includes nailing a slot in this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

    “Playing in the Olympics is the greatest opportunity,” said Pagdanganan, who left for the US Sunday night and will undergo quarantine protocols before resuming her LPGA Tour campaign in Florida in two weeks. “If I get to play (in the Olympics), it’s a goal of mine.”

    Had the quadrennial meet been held as scheduled in 2020, the University of Arizona product wouldn’t have made it to the roster. Moved a year later due to the global health crisis, the Tokyo Games now beckons for the 23-year-old former Philippine Open Ladies champion, who has surged to No. 41 in the current Olympic ranking owing to her fine rookie showing on the LPGA Tour last year.

    “It was always her goal to play in the Olympics,” said three-time Junior World champion and coach Carito Villaroman, who handled Pagdanganan since she was 11. “All the things that she has been working on are in preparation for her campaign in the upcoming Tokyo Games.”

    She described her gaining an LPGA card late in 2019 as “surreal.”

    With a clear shot in the Tokyo Games, it would even look odd for the ICTSI-backed ace to be taking a stab at Olympic glory 16 years later.

    But for many, she deserves every bit of it.

    LPGA.com even labeled her as the “future and a revolutionary figure of women’s pro golf,” not just because of her immense power (she leads the Tour with a 288-yard norm), but also because of her character and the promise that she brings to the sport.

    “I’m the last mechanical and technical person you’ve ever seen.

    People talk to me about clubs and how the swing works and I’m like, ‘Oh, interesting.’ I just love to grip it and rip it,” Pagdanganan would always say when asked how and where she draws her power.

    The 2018 Asian Games individual bronze medalist is eyeing to nail the last of two Olympic slots allotted for the Philippines, the first virtually secured by LPGA of Japan Tour-based Yuka Saso, who is at No. 21.