Her LPGA debut may have been bumpy, but Bianca Pagdanganan stayed positive after the opening day of the Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio, the first tournament of the women’s Tour after five months of inactivity.
“I was pretty satisfied, a bit relieved actually with the first round,” said the 22-year-old Filipina, who scored a two-over 74 at Inverness Club.
Like any first-time pro, Pagdanganan felt some nerves at the start.
“The jitters went away the moment I stepped into the fairway,” she said.
The excitement resulted in three straight pars and a birdie on No. 13, as she began the round at the back nine.
But bogeys on Nos. 15, 16 and No18 gave her a 38 at the turn.
“I was scrambling all day. With how I was hitting, I’m sure it could’ve gone a different route,” she added.
After a bogey on the first, she came through with a sensational eagle on the next.
A monster tee shot flew 337 yards that left her with 150 yards on the approach. She grabbed her trusty 9-iron and the ball landed 8 feet to the cup. She holed out that eagle putt with ease.
“I know there were a lot of tough holes after that hole, but it sure boosted my confidence, not to mention my score,” Pagdanganan said.
She dropped two strokes again on the third and fourth then ended with a birdie on the eighth to wound up with a 36 and that 74.
“Inverness is a tough, tough course. I really had to be smart with my game and pick my shots. That meant tempering my aggressiveness, but at the same time, taking advantage of chances where I knew I could make a play,” Pagdanganan said.
Clariss Guce, the California-based daughter of jockey Ramon Guce, shot a 3-over 75 while Dottie Ardina had a 6-over 78.
Ardina could not get her game going as she skied to a 78 and she would need to have a stellar round on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to contend.
Three double bogeys (Nos. 1, 6 and 14) and two bogeys (Nos. 7 and 15) certainly didn’t help, holes that were mitigated by consecutive birdies on Nos. 8 and 9.
American Danielle Kang sparkled with a 66 to lead the way followed closely by Swede Jodi Shadoff (67).
The Drive On Championship, with a total purse of $1 million, features 130 participants from more than 30 countries although World No. 1 Jin Young Ko of South Korea is not playing this week.
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