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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Pagdanganan ready for tough duel against Thai, Taiwanese aces

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BIANCA PAGDANGANAN provides the star power to a top-notch field in the Anvaya Cove Ladies International beginning Wednesday in Morong and she’s delighted with her return to the local golf scene after a long absence and thrilled to bits about competing in her first pro tournament in the country.

“I’m excited and looking forward to playing my first professional event in the Philippines,” said Pagdanganan, who led the country’s sweep in the individual and team gold medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games at Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac before launching her pro career in the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour in 2020.

With her immense power and talent, the Tokyo Olympian made an immediate impact in the world’s premier circuit, posting a joint ninth finish in a Major—the Women’s PGA Championship—while emerging one the Tour’s longest hitters. She made the cut nine times in 10 events, kept her card in 2021 and finished tied for 10th in the LPGA Q-Series for Tour membership in 2022.

The University of Arizona product, however, struggled in the past season and fell short of her bid in the Q-Series, relegating her to the Epson Tour, which starts next month in Florida.

And for the 25-year-old ace, the road back to the LPGA Tour begins at home as she spearheads the local challenge against a host of aces from Taiwan, the $100,000 championship sponsored by the International Container Terminal Services Inc., being co-sanctioned by Taiwan LPGA Tour, led by No. 1 Ya-Chun Chang.

“I’m eager to be playing competitive again and to be able to play in front of a home crowd,” she added.

For one, Pagdanganan is bracing for a showdown with Chang, who joined the Arizona Wildcats for the 2018-19 season when the former played out her senior year.

“Chang was my teammate in college and I am good friends with her,” said Pagdanganan. “It’s always a pleasure playing with top players from each country as it brings out the best in us.”

With Thailand’s No. 2 PK Kongkraphan standing at the forefront of the country’s perennial rivals’ charge, Pagdanganan and the rest of the locals, including Chanelle Avaricio, Harmie Constantino and Chihiro Ikeda, indeed face a daunting test in the 54-hole championship organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments Inc. and which kicks off the new Ladies Professional Golf Tour season.

“I haven’t played with a lot of them in a while, so I’m looking forward to being in the same field as them,” said Pagdanganan when asked of her thoughts on playing with the locals in a premier championship. “There’s so much talent in Philippine women’s golf.”

Daniella Uy is likewise making a return of sort after campaigning in the US circuit after nailing her first LPGT win at Riviera two years ago, while the likes of Marvi Monsalve, Gretchen Villacencio, Pamela Mariano, Sarah Ababa, Rev Alcantara and Yvon Bisera hope to come out strong and fuel their respective bids for a breakthrough victory.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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