Pagdanganan drives out of contention

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    BIANCA Pagdanganan drove herself out of contention yesterday, shooting a woeful 78 and stood in last place at 76th  after three rounds of the Volunteers of American Golf Classic at the Old Champions Club in Colony, Texas.

    The long-hitting Pagdanganan began encouragingly with her lone birdie on the third hole, a par three,  but fell apart over a seven-hole stretch, including a string of bogeys from Nos. 6 to No. 9, over the par-71, 6,475-yard course located a half-hour drive and 46.5 kilometers northwest of  Dallas.

    Unable to control her wayward approach to the greens, the 30th Southeast Asian Games double gold medalist had four more bogeys on the back nine, clustering them on holes Nos. 11-12 and Nos. 16-17, on the way to a three-day tally of 228.

    She had the second-worst round in the field and stood 19 shots behind South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, Inbee Park and American teener Yealimi Noh, who fired 65, 69 and 71, respectively and were tied for first place with similar three-round outputs of 209.

    Pagdanganan also had a wobbly opening round, shooting 78 and, coupled with a 72 on the second day of action, narrowly made the cut of 150 after 36 holes in the 72-hole tournament offering a total pot of $1,750,000 (roughly P84.1 million).

    Underscoring Pagdanganan’s driving miseries was the fact that she hit only nine of 13 fairways and reached only eight of 18 greens in regulations, based on the statistics posted on the US LPGA website.

    Hopefully, she would be able to correct these flaws before making her debut in the US Women’s Open Championship slated Dec. 10 to 13 at the Cypress Creek Course of the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

    Pagdanganan will be joined by former national teammate Yuka Saso, who will make her maiden appearance in the prestigious tournament after a successful rookie stint on the Japanese LPGA Tour where she won two events and was tops in earnings with 93,891,170 yen (P43.3 million).