After a forgettable stint at the LPGA Drive On Championship two weeks, coach Jeff Manore expected Dottie Ardina to bounce back in the just concluded Marathon LPGA Classic. And he was right.
Ardina shot rounds of 72-70-69-67, getting better every day until the end, finishing nine strokes off champion Danielle Kang of the United States and wound up tied at 20th with four others.
Ardina’s placing at Highland Meadows matched her best finish at the ISPS Handa Vic Open earlier this year. She also played the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open before the LPGA shut down activities.
Her last-round performance at Marathon was impressive, hitting 13-of-14 fairways, 15-of-18 greens in regulation and 29 putts, a huge improvement, her coach acknowledged.
“I know she’ll bounce back fast,” said Manore, who worked on Ardina’s tempo prior to Marathon.
Aside from pocketing $18,138 (P890,000), Ardina will be among 10 players who booked a spot at the AIG Women’s Open set at Royal Troon in Scotland from August 20-23.
The other players who will head to Scotland are Emma Talley, Andrea Lea, Patty Tavatanakit, Maria Fassi, Kendall Dye, Sophia Popov, Kelly Tan, and Peiyun Chien.
Lindy Duncan claimed the last slot after winning tiebreak with Elizabeth Szokol and Matilda Castren.
For the Open, Manore said he will work on adding length to Ardina’s tee shots. Though she’s averaging a consistent 80.2% in driving distance (10th on the tour), she’s 158th in distance with 241.57 yards.
“Previously, Callaway gave us the wrong MAVRIK head. She’ll return to the EPIC SUB-ZERO that suits her game,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bianca Pagdanganan wound up joint 59th at Marathon after scoring 284 in 4 days. She earned $4,125 (P202,000), upping her two-week winnings to $10,987, the $6,862 at the Drive On included.
“I know I could’ve done better and maybe a little frustrated that I couldn’t keep the momentum going for the last two days. But it’s all good because it’s part of the process,” Pagdanganan said.
On Day 3, when she fell off the leaderboard, Pagdanganan, in a flight with Spaniard Carlota Ciganda, received three warnings timed as one point due to slow play that resulted in hurried shots.
The Southeast Asian Games double gold winner said there is a lesson to be picked up from her experience.
“One thing I did learn this week was that I should control the things I control. I lost focus because of outside factors that weren’t in my control when I should’ve just focused on myself and my game,” Pagdanganan said.
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