Bianca Pagdanganan of the Philippines came through with her best outing so far on the LPGA Tour, kicking off her bid for a maiden crown with a two-under-par 69 in an ideal scoring day to stay within striking distance from joint leaders Danielle Kang of the US and Lydia Ko of New Zealand in the 35th Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio on Thursday (US time)
Kang, winner of last week’s Drive On Championship, and Ko, the former World No. 1, each scored a 64 to lead the pack. The American is seeking to become the first back-to-back winner on the LPGA Tour since 2017.
Of her performance, Pagdanganan said: “I’m quite satisfied with how I played today. It felt good to be out there and be in a position where I could contend.”
After cruising to four straight pars, Pagdanganan used her length off the tees on the fifth hole, where she holed out her first birdie. Though she gave up a stroke on the on the long (more than 500 yards) dogleg seventh, she gained one on the ninth to close out the front side with a 33.
At the back end, the 22-year-old bet from Quezon City again produced the two birdies that cushioned the impact of her bogey on the 15th.
“I went to the wrong side of the green on those bogeys,” she said.
It also help that her putting is improving. She made excellent work on the putting surface, which resulted in 28 putts overall despite the soft greens that are toughened because of subtle breaks.
“I think I’m putting it better this week (as compared to the Drive On Championship last week). I have a good feel of the speed,” she said.
“If I can get my lines more accurate, I will have more birdies in the succeeding rounds,” added Pagdanganan, who is currently bunched at 28th spot.
US-based Filipina Clariss Guce carded an even par 71 while compatriot Dottie Ardina, out to atone for her unforgettable stint at the Drive On Championship, shot a one-over 72.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).