Bianca Pagdanganan shot a 3-under 69 in Round 3 on Saturday (US time) to hold solo 2nd place in the LPGA Drive On Championship.
The reigning Southeast Asian Games women's singles champion from the Philippines closed with back-to-back birdies to stand second on 204 at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia, one shot behind Day 3 leader Ally McDonald of the United States.
“I feel great. There was like a huge sigh of relief after I made my last putt,” the LPGA Tour rookie said.
“It was a little frustrating. I was hitting so many good shots but I couldn’t get any putts to drop but overall I’m still happy with the way I played.”
She took over first place momentarily to start the day, after McDonald bogeyed the opening hole and a Pagdanganan birdie on No. 2.
But bogeys on Nos. 3 and 5 threatened to derail the Filipina’s campaign.
Birdies on the 7th and 9th holes helped Pagdanganan right the ship, before clutch birdies on the par-3 17th and par-5 18th kept her in prime contention for the title.
“Honestly I just told myself you have so many more holes to play and you’re not hitting it bad,” Pagdanganan said of her front-9 bogeys.
“You just got to calm down, just take it shot by shot.”
No spectators were allowed on the course, but boaters on the lakeside layout honked horns for good shotmaking throughout the round.
World No. 233 Pagdanganan, the LPGA driving yardage leader who turns 23 next week, hopes for her first LPGA triumph in only her sixth professional start.
McDonald, hoping to win her first LPGA title, fired a 3-under par 69 on the day.
She reeled off 4 birdies in 5 holes in the middle of her round to stand on 13-under 203 after 54 holes.
"I played some really solid golf after I settled in," McDonald said. "I'm excited with the position I'm in. Mentally I think I handled myself really well. Ready to take on tomorrow (Sunday, US time)." -- With a report from Agence France-Presse